The newly-appointed “” will hold its first official meeting tonight at Town Hall at 7 p.m.
The committee visited the former Medfield State Hospital on June 14 but tonight will meet to review its mission statement and learn the history of the property.
The committee includes Marc Verreault, Jim Rohnstock, Ken Richard, Scott Colwell, Kerry McCormack, Roberta Lynch, Timothy Bonfatti, Stephen Nolan, William Mann, and Robert Ingram.
In a memo to the Redevelopment Study Committee, the selectmen thanked the members for their willingness “to work on a difficult and complex problem.”
“It is only because of the willingness of so many of Medfield’s residents to step up and volunteer their services, that Medfield can maintain its small-town character and provide quality town services,” the memo said.
“The task you are taking on deals with one of the most important decisions facing the Town of Medfield in recent memory and your recommendations will be given the most serious consideration by this board [of Selectmen] and other town boards and committees, by Town Meeting, and by the residents of Medfield,” it said.
Tonight, the committee will meet with John Thompson, chairman of the State Hospital Environmental Review Committee (SHERC), and state hospital activist and abutter Bill Massaro who will present a lengthy history of the former Medfield State Hospital and issues surrounding the property.
The committee will also review its mission statement which was by the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night.
The Board of Selectmen would like the State Hospital Redevelopment Study Committee to evaluate the potential purchase of the Medfield State Hospital property by the Town of Medfield, including the costs, benefits, and any issues related to such a purchase. This can include any additional capabilities of the town government that would be required to oversee the purchase, clean-up and redevelopment and/or reuse of a property of this size and scope.
Additionally, the Board of Selectmen seek advice on the potential economic uses of the former hospital site, a review of Chapter 269 of the Acts of 2008, and an examination of the expected recommendations from Jones, Lange, LaSalle. This can be from the point of view of the residents of the Town of Medfield and the residents of the immediate neighborhoods, considering positive and/or negative impacts on the quality of life, the cost of servicing potential reuses, traffic, the availability of water, sewer and other town services, the impact on the school, library, and park and recreation departments, the potential revenue stream, the impact of redevelopment on the town's requirement to provide a 10 percent share of affordable housing units, and any other factors that should be considered.
Based on these findings, the committee should make its own recommendations to the Board of Selectmen as to how the property might be redeveloped.
Last month, a brief history of the property was provided to the members which said:
The closing of Medfield State Hospital in 2003 left the Town of Medfield and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with a site of over 200 acres on banks of the Charles River in the northwesterly corner of the town.
This property contains over 50 buildings virtually (all of which have been vacant for eight years or more) is zoned for either Business-Industrial use or Agricultural use.
The site is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a local historic district (the Hospital Farm Historic District) by vote of the Medfield Town Meeting on April 25, 1994.
The property was declared surplus by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and is now managed by the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM). Over the past two years, DCAM has been attempting to clean portions of the site, which have been contaminated by dumping ·of hazardous waste. DCAM would like to finish the clean-up as quickly as possible and then dispose of the property by sale and/or by transfer to other state agencies.
The Board of Selectmen has previously negotiated a disposition agreement with DCAM, which was enacted as Chapter 269 of the Acts of 2008. This agreement requires several actions be taken by the town and/or the Commonwealth. For a variety of reasons, these actions have never been taken. In the meantime, the extent of the contamination was recognized, and actions to identify the contaminants and clean-up the site are underway. DCAM has taken the position that it will handle the contamination along the banks of the Charles River and, to a lesser extent, on primarily vacant land on the westerly side of Hospital Road (the Sledding Hill). It has also stated that the clean-up of the contamination on the land and in the buildings to be sold will be the responsibility of the purchaser.
For a number of years, DCAM refused to consider the sale of the site to the Town of Medfield. Recently, under a new administration, DCAM has indicated it would be willing to consider the sale of the site to the town after reserving the riverfront property for transfer to the Department of Environmental Management Division of Forest and Parks.
No price or value for the property to be sold has been discussed.
DCAM has also recently engaged the real estate firm of Jones, Lange, LaSalle to undertake a study of potential redevelopment options for the property; that study is expected to be completed in the near future.