Recently, H. 3643, an act authorizing the Town of Medfield to enter into a long-term lease for an arts and cultural center, was signed into law. This law, shepherded through the legislative process by State Representative Denise Garlick (D-Needham), State Senator Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough), and State Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), will allow Town of Medfield, which has been working to redevelop the abandoned Medfield State Hospital (MSH) property for a number of years, to enter into a ninety-nine year lease with the Cultural Alliance of Medfield for a portion of the property. The Cultural Alliance, with broad community support, hopes to use the facilities as a venue for performing arts, lectures, and visual art exhibits.
The state hospital campus, once owned by the Commonwealth, was acquired by the Town of Medfield in 2014. Since that time, the Town has established a Medfield State Hospital Advisory Committee, a Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee, and a Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee Resource Committee, which has worked closely with the Medfield Board of Selectmen and the Medfield Buildings and Grounds Committee on this initiative.
“I am grateful to partner with extraordinary and committed constituents, like the Medfield State Hospital Advisory Committee members, the MSH Master Planning Committee members, the MSHMPC Resource Committee members, and Jean Mineo and Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler of Medfield, as we work to continue to improve our community,” said Representative Garlick.
“I’m incredibly proud of the efforts that so many throughout Medfield have engaged in over the years to make the community’s collective vision for the state hospital property a reality,” said Senator Feeney. “This particular effort to include a vibrant arts and cultural center in a beautiful and natural setting has been embraced by local officials, residents, legislators and businesses. I have no doubt that this will serve as one of many gems in the town of Medfield for years to come and I am thankful for Representative Garlick’s leadership on this.”
"I am beyond thrilled that we were able to get this done for the people of Medfield,” said Representative Dooley. “The town’s willingness and commitment to build such a unique and inclusive community space as the centerpiece for this project shows how truly special Medfield is. We still have a long way to go, but I’m glad we were able to get beyond yet another hurdle on our way to the finish line."
Residents at the Medfield Town Meeting overwhelmingly supported the measure earlier this year and the plan has won numerous national awards. In 2018, the Medfield State Hospital Strategic Reuse Master Plan won the Prestigious Planning Project of the Year from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association. In addition, the plan received the 2019 John Keller Award for Outstanding Planning Initiative at the Association’s national planning conference earlier this year.