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State says Shattuck Hospital won't revert to parkland after inpatient programs move to the South End

The Boston Sun reports state health officials planning the move of Shattuck Hospital's in-patient wards to a new facility in the South End have rejected calls by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy to just tear the entire place down so it can revert to parkland.

Earlier this month, the Conservancy called for the state to put the hospital's remaining outpatient services - and "supportive housing" being planned for the site - at the MBTA's nearby Arborway yards, which the conservancy says would make better use of underutilized land there while letting Franklin Park expand to its original borders. The MBTA once proposed carving off eight acres of the 18-acre site for housing and parkland, but shelved the plans because of the cost of rebuilding the remaining land to serve as a more modern bus facility.

The Sun reports that Lauren Peters, assistant state secretary for health and human services, told South End residents that the land, when coupled with Boston's efforts to re-open Long Island, present a golden opportunity to provide services to fight addiction and that there's no way her department will agree to calls by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy to return the site to Franklin Park.

In any case, the state says a law passed in 1949 and still in effect requires the land only be used for "public health" purposes. The state has hired a consultant to figure out exactly what to do with the Shattuck land; a report is due out in June.

The state expects to move current Shattuck programs and patients to the South End in 2021.



Parks are good for the health of the public, therefore reverting it back to park land is using it for "public health".


The Shattuck hospital has had a chronic problem with cockroaches, rats, mice and bedbugs despite spending all kinds of money on pest control.

When they tear down that old dinosaur if you live in the area, take precautions.

This is my opinion, not a fact.

Best case scenario, the mental health facilities crammed into the hideous downtown complex known as the Departed FBI building move to Shattuck

Several services are staying on the current site

The law is the law, "powerful allies" be damned.

However, to hear that 25% of patients will have day passes is a big concern.

They say they "get to know their patients" before handing out passes and to that I say this;

Drug addicts know better than anyone how to play people. Even those with their guard up.

To think that an open air drug market won't be thriving just outside is naive at best.

If there wasnt an under the radar change in size (200k to 600k sq ft) Id give them the benefit of the doubt but this is not well thought out (perhaps by design) and as much as I rail against NIMBYism these people have a legit concern that should be addressed.


It's not in the state constitution, it's just a law that was passed in 1949 and that, if the administration really wanted to, could try to get changed (I'm not arguing they should, I'm just sensitive to the general issue of parks and state laws following the Stony Brook Reservation dog park fiasco).

(i dunno, hadnt even had coffee #1 yet)

I agree though, changing the law is the answer.

That area is represented entirely by Democrats in the House and Senate. Republicans don't have the membership to sustain a veto, so it's essentially carte blanche for the Democrats. If they want to show their environmental chops, simply amend the 1949 law by substituting "public park" for "public health." A one minute fix with no chance of Republicans stopping it.

Why do you want to see the land changed from public health to public park? Or were you just enjoying the moment of owning the libs by getting the name of the Democratic party wrong and don't really give a rat's ass about Franklin Park, Shattuck Hospital, addicts or, really, anything in that part of the city?


I'd side with the folks who want to reverse this 1940s mistake, and bring back the parkland that Olmsted designed for this location. This doesn't mean we should also remove the zoo and the golf course, but the Shattuck building adds no value to the Emerald Necklace.


I'm having trouble coming up with a worse place for a hospital than in the middle of a park. Maybe in a library of an elementary school? Just return the land to the park and build somewhere else on a surface parking lot or something. Boston needs more park space.


Agree. Arborway Bus Yard has the room for the needed facilities and it has the advantage of being nearby, transit-friendly, and State owned.


The Shattuck Hospital relocation is an opportunity for the state to repair multiple mistakes: the 1949 transfer of 13 acres of Franklin Park to the State for a hospital and the broken promise of 8 acres at the Arborway Yard site for community use, which could be a location for the much-needed recovery services.

Shattuck hospital used to have a nursing school program, did you know?

Yes, I remember.

Also, the Shattuck takes care of a lot of inmates, Dept of Corrections, inpatient and out patient clinics including a small ICU

Sad to see it go. The day of the institutional setting is gone.

It's a shame.

The Nurses' Building is already demolished. The Shattuck Day Care Center moved to the 1st Baptist Church in JP.

but just because people are in the same party doesn't mean they think and act in lockstep. Or were you not paying attention during the primaries last year?

A two-thirds vote is required to override a gubernatorial veto in the 40-member Senate that includes 33 Democrats and seven Republicans. The governor needed the support of 15 senators to sustain a veto if all 40 senators voted -- and fewer votes if some members were absent. Baker fell short of that goal as nine votes were the most support he received on any veto. The Senate easily overrode all 179 vetoes, including 17 that were overridden unanimously. - Lowell Sun, January 8, 2018

Baker has no chance of sustaining a veto. That's fine with him as he's a Democrat at heart. As for my interest in the topic, the dilapidated, neglected Shattuck is an eyesore and I have little hope that any new facility would stay in good condition for long . It would be best to complete the plan drafted by a genius like Olmsted instead of a shortsighted plan from detached bureaucrats.

When the State announced--primarily for legitimate financial reasons--that they would not spend twice as much to refurbish the existing Shattuck Hospital building and instead would like to relocate this "safety net" hospital to the South End adjoining BMC, it was not without significant concerns from South Enders.

It's no secret that the South End is increasingly disproportionately represented as an addiction, recovery, and homelessness service location. We are indisputably the epicenter of the opioid crisis if not for the region, at least the state and together with our Newmarket neighbors have been asking every city state and private organization for help in addressing a crisis that often feels like it will overwhelm us.

The South End has a long and proud history of being arguably one of the most welcoming neighborhoods to those service providers and medical facilities that treat the poor, the most marginalized, those without hope. We remember the early days of the Aids crisis when the SE was the only place where treatment with dignity could be found, so that is not something that South Enders want to change as we face the opioid and homelessness crisis at our doorstep. It is part of our history and for many of us part of our soul.

So when Mary Lou Sudders called to tell us that Shattuck would be relocated to the South End, we did not run for the pitchforks and home made signs. But we did ask for a commitment that the state would commit--as part of the long standing public health mission--to helping the South End to meet the increasing demands for transitional supportive housing and recovery programs and help us to fix the broken "continuity of service" model that had created a detox after detox turn-style approach to recovery treatment for most seekers in Boston. And Secretary Sudders made it clear that she understood the important role the South End plays every day in addressing a crisis that cuts across the entire city and she asked South End and Newmarket reps to sit on the Advisory Council in recommending options for the re-purposing of the Shattuck Hospital campus. And she has listened to our growing concerns about increasing concentrations of services in the South End and our plea for help from the rest of Boston. This is not NIMBY or the South End trying to offload our crisis on other neighborhoods. This is about looking at the crisis and understanding that the South End can't do more than it is already doing and we need some help. Thoughtful, well-planned and carefully managed help, but help nonetheless.

We have some 3500 detox beds on any given day in the Commonwealth which are nearly full plus or minus on any given day. But beds or program spaces in TSS or CSS--the next level of treatment in the recovery "continuity of service" model--offer only some 900 spaces. So roughly only a third of folks leaving a detox bed get to life-saving chance to move forward in their recovery. Does anyone wonder why so many folks at Mass and Cass have been in and out of detox 6, 7, or 8 times?

So when we talk "public health crisis" let's not be cheeky about the real challenge before us. Of course we would all like to create or carve out more open space across the city. But when we talk about the need to prioritize in addressing the many challenges that face us, I for one hope that most Bostonians will agree that solutions to the life and death opioid and homelessness crisis will be at the top or near the top of everyone's list.


It is disconcerting to those of us who live near the Shattuck to learn that the State has been making promises to folks in the South End while stonewalling JP/Rox/Mattapan abutters who have been asking for basic info about their interests and priorities.

At the last meeting in January they refused to define “public health uses” and they cancelled the scheduled meeting in April claiming they were still collecting info. The following week they released their RFP so we know that explaination was false. All we know is what we read in the JP Gazette and UHub.

I appreciate the plight of the South End but if there’s a lot of pushback, Mr Fox, then hold the State responsible for keeping the impacted neighborhoods in the dark, cutting deals with you behind our backs, and letting us find out about it in the news. You wouldn’t like it if it had been done the other way around.

If you read the comments above, you will clearly understand that no claim of "making promises to folks in the South End" has been made or even mildly inferred. What I said was that we got a seat at the table, just like folks from JP/Rox/Mattapan. Which is as it should be, as most will likely acknowledge. So let's not give in to typical hyperbole. There are no side deals, no agreements, just an acknowledgement that the South End is taking into our hood a major new JP institution with all the impacts that means and in return simply asking for help from our fellow Bostonians in managing a crisis that affects all of us.

If there are those that think that South Enders should have absolutely no voice in the re-purposing of the Shattuck campus and simply accept with open arms a new 260 bed hospital--with absolutely no vetting or neighborhood input into the decision-making-- into an already widely acknowledged overburdened yet cooperative neighborhood, then there is not much I can say to help others to understand the real crisis we face.

No one is in the dark, no deals have been cut behind anyone's back, and all of us are responsible for dealing with the environment we face today. There is no point in complaining about a process that should have been. We have to deal with the reality of what lies before us rather than wish for some other set of choices. And faced with those very real choices, we all need to decide what is the right way forward.

I respectfully discourage each of us from working the margins rather than squarely facing the very real crisis before us.

It is possible to provide some recovery services in JP without building 600,000+ square feet in Franklin Park. The State property at the Arborway Yard is a nagging reminder of a broken promise by the State (MBTA) from the early 2000's.

We are accustomed to public process, being able to express our views, getting to understand each others' points of view and trying to find balanced solutions. Unfortunately, that has been difficult to impossible in the Shattuck relocation process.

The seats at the table for the advisory group are by invitation.

The Jan. 2019 public meeting included a presentation & then break out groups with no opportunity for open discussion.

Two people spoke out anyway The first was a question asking what's in it for the community, and the second was a statement that Olmsted created Franklin Park for a public health purpose.

Hence the frustration from those not at the table.

Since the state mental hospitals just down the road were demolished and turned into housing - why not keep it an inpatient, mental health and drug rehab facility.
It is already there. Lets not start a 30-year war where things rot and real people get screwed. I am talking the casey overpass fiasco.
The law suits that caused demolition delay caused 30 years of misery for everyone who had to use it and the roads underneath it.

"Another issue brought up by neighbors Cinda Stoner and Helaine Simmonds was the smoking policy. Because Shattuck would be state property, there wouldn’t be smoking allowed on the premises.

Stoner said it would be a problem, as it was several years ago when Boston University Medical Center and Boston Medical Center became smoke-free campuses. Effectively, it turned the streets around the facilities into smoking areas."

I hate stuff like this. I'd be happy if things were set up so I never had to deal with secondhand smoke or cigarette butts ever again. But rules like this often have the opposite effect, and push the smoking to a location that's worse for innocent bystanders.