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MSH Committee hosts community workshop

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By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Last Tuesday, the development of the former Medfield State Hospital Site took a substantial step forward. The Medfield State Hospital Vision and Master Plan Committee hosted a community workshop at Medfield High School, welcoming all Medfield members to lend their input for the development of the site. Within the high school’s cafeteria, dozens of people made their way through four presentations, each depicting a different kind type of future for the soon to be developed site. Sarah Raposa, Town Planner, underscored that these four options were not to be chosen from exclusively, but provided a basis for residents to give feedback. “People aren’t choosing option A, B, C, or D today, but they are choosing what they like about them. It was the easiest way to present the most amount of items, or elements, of a plan,” she explained.

The options span from the absolute bare minimum of development to highly developed, including a cultural center. “You’re going to have one option called Parkland, and that one is really open-space driven. It’s actually making an investment in demolishing most of the buildings on the core campus to make it safe for people to do passive recreation,” Raposa explained. “And then the far corner scenario from that is a highly developed core campus where you’re going to have a mix of residential and multiple housing option that we don’t necessarily have in Medfield right now. So affordable housing, senior housing, and also a continuous-care senior community, so that’s something that could bring in some tax revenue and some jobs without the cost of services.”

Raposa urges all residents to look not only at the plans themselves but the financials that go with them. “What are you willing to pay for?” She asked. “If it’s something like a continuing care retirement facility, then we’re going to get tax benefits from that, so that’s something people might like about the financials. But if we’re going to have something like a cultural center, that could actually cost the town money in taxes. So we ask: ‘If your taxes were going to go up, how would you like to see that money spent?’”

This workshop was the first step in moving towards a definitive development plan. “Tell us what you like and what you don’t like, and then we’re going to distill that information down and prepare two plans and that should be in May,” Raposa explained. “And then the information from that process will get distilled down to one preferred use scenario. So the goal is for there to be a lot of community input and consensus. Not everyone is going to get exactly what they want, but there are going to be bits and elements in it that they like.”

The different options are now available to view online, so community members who weren’t able to make it to the workshop are able to give their input. The survey can be found at MSHVision.net, and will be open for two weeks following the workshop.

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