Monthly Archives: February 2014

Andrea Nevins – MFi youth volunteer of the year

Andrea Nevins-2

The Medfield Foundation proudly recognizes Andrea Nevins as its 2014 Youth Volunteer of the Year for her initiation of the Miss Amazing Massachusetts event this past year.

Other organizations where Andrea volunteers:

  • Medfield High School Student Council
  • Governor Patrick’s Project 351 Alumni Leadership Council
  • Boston Cares Teen Advisory Council
  • Best Buddies
  • Special Olympics
  • Nashoba Valley Adaptive skiing volunteer instructor

The Miss Amazing is a national celebration of girls and  young women with disabilities, conducted in twenty-five states, which provides an opportunity to demonstrate the participants’ confidence and self-esteem in a safe and supporting environment.  Participants spent the day in fun activities, conducted interviews with event moderators and spent the evening providing introductions of themselves, performing a special talent and crossing the stage with a volunteer escort.  Andrea initiated bringing the inaugural Miss Amazing Massachusetts event to the Blake Middle School.  Andrea recruited members to and also co-chaired each subcommittee of the event including:

  • contestant sign-up, where she presented to numerous organizations (SEPAC’s ARC’s, Best Buddies) about the Miss Amazing pageant to encourage participation;
  • fundraising, where she directly and successfully solicited support among the corporate, foundation, and Medfield community;
  • publicity, where coverage was provided by Medfield Hometown Weekly, Medfield.TV, Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Fox-25 News, and participants’ local papers;
  • facilities and operations, where she worked with individuals at the Town House and Blake Middle School to provide the venue and logistics for the event; and
  • volunteers, where ultimately over 60 individuals participated in a meaningful way during the event.

Elements of the inaugural Massachusetts event are being used as models for other states that are launching a pageant and the Massachusetts event already inspired one in Connecticut.

Andrea’s earliest volunteering started at age 12 with Boston Cares, where she cleaned public parks and schools, participated in youth programs at local Boy & Girls Clubs chapters, and assembled kits for the homeless.  Later, Andrea was instrumental in bringing the “Putting for Patients” fundraising program supporting Dana Farber to Medfield and spearheaded with another the “Spread the word to end the R Word” initiative to Blake Middle School.

Andrea Nevins and all the other extraordinary volunteers will be feted at the MFi’s 2014 volunteer recognition reception from 3 -5 PM on Sunday, March 23 at The Center at Medfield, at which all are welcome.  The seventh annual MFi volunteer awards are again sponsored by the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation, for the third year.

Medfield Foundation (

Medfield Foundation (


Saw a tanker truck and people treating the VOC contamination at the Medfield State Hospital during my  morning run.  The man I queried said it would take about two weeks. 

They get rid of the VOC by pumping a chemical into the ground to react with the VOC and render it inert.  I am told that this is routine and will work well.

Once this is finished the only remaining clean up at the MSH will be the mediated fix to the C&D area, which should also be accomplished this year.

It is good that Medfield will be offered the opportunity to buy a basically clean site.

Water tower legislation expected to pass by Thursday

John Harney, a member of the State Hospital Advisory Committee’s legislation subcommittee and also a close friend of Senator Timilty, reports that the Senator expects the Medfield State Hospital water tower and well fields legislation to finally be passed by next Thursday.  Under the terms of the mediated clean up settlement, DCAMM agreed that the town should get at no cost land at the MSH site on which to construct a replacement water tower, and the former tubular well fields off Colonial Road.

This emailed update from John this afternoon:

Thank you for the accurate summary of the points you made at Tuesday’s meeting.  I did, notwithstanding the CANCELLED notice on the web, watch the [Board of Selectmen] meeting.
I had another long talk with Senator Timilty last evening.  He is, like we are, frustrated by the “one more inquiry” tact that is apparently being taken on the water tower and well-field legislation but is determined to see it through all the hurdles including engrossment and enactment in both chambers and signed by the Governor before 3/10.  He now looks to action in the Senate on Tuesday and in the House on Thursday.  Let us devoutly trust that matters so work out.
It is good that you are keeping a very sharp eye on all that is involved.

John Thompson MFi volunteer of the year


Thompson, John  RGB-cropped

John Thompson

The Medfield Foundation proudly recognizes John Thompson as its 2014 Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Medfield State Hospital Mediation Committee

Other organizations where John has volunteered:

  • State Hospital Environmental Review Committee (SHERC), Chair for three years
  • Medfield Archeology Advisory Committee, Chair for ten years
  • Friends of Dwight Derby House, past president for three years
  • Vine Lake Preservation Trust
  • Medfield Conservation Commission, seven years and past chair
  • Port of Galilee Advisory Committee, Narragansett RI Town Council

Professionally, John is an environmental engineer and Licensed Site Professional (LSP) at Woodard & Curran.  John added his professional and personal concerns over the inadequate and inappropriate remediation originally being proposed by the state at the former Medfield State Hospital site along and in the Charles River, and below groundwater in the zone of influence surrounding the town’s most productive well.  Under John’s leadership SHERC directed the town’s outside environmental  consultants in their review of DCAMM’s reports and proposed remediation plans.  After two years with the state and town getting no closer to agreement on the clean up, John proposed mediation, and DCAMM accepted.  After a year and more than twenty mediation sessions, a Settlement Agreement was signed with DCAMM.  John spent 500 to 1,000 hours a year for several years on these efforts, to protect the town and its environment.  Town expenditures for outside consultants were significantly reduced both as a result of John’s own environmental qualifications and experience, and also as a result of the direction he provided.

The Settlement Agreement negotiated under John’s guidance will result in a remediation at the former riverside waste site that is significantly more protective of the town’s principal water supply, more protective of public health, will restore five million gallons of flood storage, and will improve public access to the Charles River.  The planned restoration of the riverside area to its historic conditions will enhance the value and marketability of the adjoining Hospital property in any future reuse scenario.

While current residents and future generations will certainly benefit from the improved  cleanup brought about by John’s efforts, his management of the Medfield delegation in the mediation sessions also contributed significantly to establishing today’s atmosphere of cooperation between the town and DCAMM, which is expected to positively influence that relationship as the remediation is completed, as the long-term monitoring and maintenance period begins, and as the Town pursues with DCAMM the possible purchase of the Medfield State Hospital property from the state.

John Thompson combines the best of human qualities with professional expertise all in extraordinary service to the Town of Medfield.  He is patient with those who are uninformed
in matters he knows thoroughly, skilled in conveying his always accurate positions, and incredibly generous in his gift of time to the common good.   His time, knowledge, and professional demeanor were the catalyst that achieved the town’s cleanup goals.

In addition to these Hospital related activities, John organized fund raising events and secured grants for the restoration of the Dwight Derby House, gave talks at the Middle School on geology, and performed historical investigations and cleaned gravestones  for the Vine Lake Preservation Trust.

John Thompson and all the other extraordinary volunteers will be feted at the MFi’s 2014 volunteer recognition reception from 3 -5 PM on Sunday, March 23 at The Center at Medfield  – all are welcome.  Thsee seventh annual MFi volunteer awards are again sponsored by the Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation, for the third year.

Medfield Foundation (

Film on MHS

This is a fun 20 minute film about Medfield High School by MHS students –

Ralph Costello on MSH

Unique Homes’ Ralph Costello, who serves on the Medfield Economic Development Committee and is the developer of Old Medfield Square on Rte. 27 (which will pay $600,000 per year to the town in property taxes versus $50,000 per year in cost of municipal services) recently summarized his thinking about the Medfield State Hospital site in an interesting letter to the town planner, Sarah Raposa –

January 29, 2014
Sarah L. Raposa
Town Planner
Town of Medfield
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052

Dear Sarah,

The well-organized January 11th MSH Visioning Meeting was very helpful and informative. It gave those in attendance a free flow of ideas and a clear picture of what the MSH development could mean for the town — the preservation of natural resources and filling community needs, both current and future.

I believe the afternoon presentations made it clear to most in attendance that common sense and vision should prevail over caution and limited horizon. Seldom does a mature town like Medfield, with little developable land, have the opportunity to purchase 130 acres at a bargain price with easy payment terms. And then, control its development to serve the conservation, housing, recreational and cultural needs of the community. The Town of Medfield has that opportunity and should purchase the property.
In the event the town moves forward with the purchase, a Master Site Plan needs to be finalized. And, a strategic plan for its implementation needs to be completed. With the MSH vision in mind, solid planning is needed to address important issues that impact the makeup of the Master Site Plan. The subdivision of parcels of land, the configuration of housing and a timetable for site improvements, funding, marketing, and sales are factors that could determine the makeup of the Master Site Plan. After the vision, the challenge begins. It is one thing to create a vision, it is quite another to execute it.

This letter outlines some of the critical issues that need to be considered in the Master Site Plan and the strategic planning.

What Drives all Real Estate Development?
All real estate developers, me included, always need to be thinking about which “end user” will purchase the developed product. And, what does the “end user” need and want? And, what will the “end user” pay? Even though the Town of Medfield does not intend to develop the site it must create a plan for the development which will be subdivided into parcels, sold and developed by others. Identifying “end users” is very important in the planning process. “End users” want different size lots, housing units, building styles, amenities, density, and prices and need to be considered in creating the Master Site Plan.

Importance of Housing!
Of all the proposed uses, housing stands out as the most important because: Housing is . the highest best use of the land. And, housing will fill the growing need and expanding market of several demographic groups. And, Housing can help preserve the quadrangle buildings by reusing them as apartments and condos. And, Housing parcels can be sold to developers which will bring in revenue sooner, entitling the town to a greater share of the revenue split with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And, housing will produce more post development property tax revenue for the town than other proposed uses.

And, housing designed and built for different demographic groups will have separate generations living side by side with trails and walkways connecting the separate parcels, open spaces, and recreation areas. This will create a wonderful sense of place and further add to the Medfield community spirit. All are important considerations in developing a master site plan. So, special attention must be focused on the housing component.

In general, the housing concept is to plan for the development of market rate housing to fit the needs of the four demographic groups listed below:

• Housing for Seniors
o Independent living
o Assisted living
• Housing for Baby Boomers
o Attached/detached Condominiums
o Multi attached Condominiums
• Housing for Generation X
o Single parent households, Condominiums
• Housing for Generation Y , Millennial
o Rental Apartments
o Condominiums

In Addition, a 408 Affordable Housing component should be available in apartments to obtain the maximum credits toward the minimum 10% affordable requirement. Also, a portion of land should be set aside for a future location to move historical homes slated for demolition or to build a Habitat for Humanity project.
A first step in finalizing the master site plan is to subdivide the MSH site into parcels suitable for each demographic group. The location, boundaries and size of each parcel would be determined by the design needs for the demographic group. The parcels would then be sold to private real estate developers to build housing for the target market. This plan has one distinct advantage: two or more real estate developers/builders can be developing parcels simultaneously without competing with one another. The homes built by each developer would be marketed to an entirely different group of buyers. Marketing to different developers at the same time will result in the project being built and completed sooner.

To accomplish these goals strategic planning must consider the design for the whole site, each parcel, and the housing units within each parcel. Listed below are some of the considerations and decisions to be made in the process of creating a final site plan.

To Be Determined:
• The optimum number of housing units to be built on the site
• The number of housing units designated for each demographic group
• The location on the site for each demographic group.
• The optimum size of a parcel to accommodate the designated number of units
• The size and number of parcels to be subdivided.
. The balance of open space with the configuration of buildings and improvements on each parcel
• The scale and design of the housing units to fit into the needs of the target market and at the same time fit architecturally into the site already defined by the chapel, the quad building facades and the country environment.
• The access roads to each parcel
• The availability and access to utilities for each parcel
• The market value of each parcel created
• The means by which the market value of each parcel could be enhanced
• The marketing plan for the sale of the parcels
• The rollout timetable that best meets the financial goals of the project

Under the existing Medfield Zoning Bylaw the MSH site cannot be developed as envisioned.  Changes to the Zoning Bylaw must be a part of the strategic planning.

I recommend the following changes:
• Rezone the entire MSH site to include:
o Flexibility on use, density, and dimensional regulations
o Changes in the procedures and process for review and approval of plans

o A design review committee

A rezoning of the entire site is the best method of making the necessary changes. Since zoning bylaw changes require a vote by town meeting, proposed changes should be a priority.

In the execution of the MSH master plan many changes will be required; hence the new zoning should give the town broad guidelines and lots of flexibility to accommodate those changes. Changing the procedures and process for application and plan review is very important to the success of the project at MSH. The process of plan review has to be more of a collaborative effort between developers and the Town of Medfield, with both sides working towards a common goal.

The first step in the approval process should be a design review. A design review committee should be established to review the site plan and unit plans submitted by the developer. Prior to the submittal of any plans the. review committee should go over design concepts with the developer to establish design guidelines and direction. The town and the developer should work together to find the best plan for the parcel. Control over design is very important for the town as the overall appeal and value of the remaining parcels and the entire site is affected by what is built.

In conclusion, the MSH vision is all about community —- a place where different generations can live side by side and share in the experience of a vibrant community.

The Town of Medfield has the opportunity to transform this vision into reality and help create such a community. When completed, it would not be an imitation of another development, but unique to Medfield, and a model for others to follow.

Sarah, I hope these ideas are helpful in your strategic planning for the site.

Sincerely yours,
Ralph Costello
Unique Homes and aide Village Square Corp
503 Main Street, Medfield, MA.

MFi seeks volunteers

The Medfield Foundation is seeking volunteers to assist it with the projects it runs in town:

  • Medfield Foundation Angel Run
  • Medfield Foundation volunteer of the year

Anyone interested in assisting with either can contact the Medfield Foundation President, Evan Weisenfeld at

$2.5 m. to remove all asbestos from MSH in 1998

At the State Hospital Advisory Committee committee meeting last Thursday, John Thompson, chair of both the State Hospital Environmental Review Committee (SHERC) and the MSH Environmental Cleanup Mediation Committee, reported on a 1998 study done for the state on asbestos at the Medfield State Hospital  site.  He indicated that the study was performed by an exceedingly reputable company, and that it had concluded that it would cost $2.5 m. to remove all the asbestos from all the buildings at the MSH.  John provided the SHAC the two notebook binders that contained the survey materials.

Since that survey had been done,

  • the state did remove all asbestos from the R Building at the rear of the site and the building also renovated at that same time directly in front of the R Building.
  • the state demolished three or more of the buildings

In order to reuse the site, the building will most likely have to be removed, due to the advanced state of deterioration to which they have sunk, and at that time any asbestos would have to be removed.

DCAMM has supplied to SHAC what it has to pay, using the prevailing wages the state must pay, to demolish buildings similar to those at the Medfield State Hospital, and that figure was $11 to $14 per sq. ft.  DCAMM also says that if the demolition is done by a private party, as the town envisions would happen at the MSH redevelopment, that in DCAMM’s experience the cost is $6 per sq. ft.   Those DCAMM figures are “all in” figures, which include the cost to abate things such as asbestos and/or lead paint in the buildings.

Any deteriorated building can be saved, but those at the MSH site can probably only be saved by the expenditure of such large sums of monies that most observers suggest that it is economically not feasible to save them.  The economics derive from the fact that someone must pay the extra costs required to rehab such deteriorated building, and that extra cost must either come out of and redevelopment or from the town’s residents’ property taxes.  That decision of whether to pay the larger amounts required to save the buildings, or not, will ultimately be another of the town’s decisions, if the town first opts to purchase the property.

My guess is that the town will opt to save only a very few buildings, perhaps the iconic Lee chapel and two to three more that are in good shape, and to demolish the rest.  I am also guessing that most of us are not going to be willing to pay more in property taxes to save the rest of the MSH buildings and will prefer any redevelopment to have less density than might be required to create the extra monies to rehab any more of the buildings.

MSH site walk 11AM on 3/8

John Thompson and Richard DeSorgher will lead a site walk of the Medfield State Hospital property at 11 AM on 3/8/14 to give interested residents a look at the property that the town will be asked to buy at the special town meeting (STM) on 3/10/14.

Water tower legislation delayed

John Harney of the legislation sub-committee of the State Hospital Advisory Committee reported at the last SHAC meeting last Thursday, that Senator Timilty had said that the town’s pending water tower and well fields legislation (to acquire about 5 acres on which to site a new water tower at the former Medfield State Hospital and the well fields), has been delayed because the state decided to surveyed all state departments to make sure that none of them wanted those lands.

Mr. Harney reported that Sen. Timilty expected the legislation to be enacted in about two weeks.  Originally that legislation had been expected to be passed by last Thursday.

The legislation would transfer to the Town of Medfield about 5 acres of land surrounding the present water tower, along with access to Hospital Road, and the almost 20 acres of land comprising the former tubular well fields that are accessed off Colonial Road and that lie between Colonial and the Norfolk Hunt Club lands along North Street.  The plan is for the town to get the lands at no cost, as one of the concessions negotiated as part of the successfully mediated clean up of the Medfield State Hospital site, due to the risk to the town’s well 6 by the C&D dump next to the river below ground water levels and the VOC plume from the former laundry building at the MSH site.