Planned Demolition of Shattuck Hospital: An Opportunity to Restore Franklin Park

For decades, Franklin Park has been a key open space for neighboring Black and Brown communities, providing a gathering space for events, as well as a welcome respite from city life. Over time, Franklin Park land use has changed with the addition of other uses, including the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Franklin Park Zoo, William J. Devine Golf Course and Boston Parks Maintenance Yard. Today, though it spans 526 acres, 40%, or 200 acres, of Franklin Park is not freely accessible to the public.

The Shattuck Hospital was built on “Heathfield”, originally designed as a large meadow with shade trees, after 13 acres of parkland were transferred from the City of Boston to the Commonwealth for the purpose of building a hospital in 1949. The Shattuck Hospital building has now reached the end of its useful life and is slated for demolition by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). Most services are planned to relocate to the Newton Pavilion at Boston Medical Center in the South End.

At the Shattuck site, EOHHS plans to build 75-100 units of housing for the formerly unhoused but does not include any provisions for critical “wrap-around” supportive services. Community members have raised concerns regarding the States proposal, including:

  • The Shattuck Hospital is isolated, without access to reliable public transportation and neighborhood amenities
  • The Commonwealth’s current proposal requests a minimum of 75-100 units for the formerly homeless but does not require critical “wrap-around” supportive services.
  • The Commonwealth’s proposal provides no State funding for the redevelopment of the site. The proposal offers a private sector developer a 99-year lease of publicly owned land to build housing and services solely at the provider’s cost.
  • The Commonwealth’s current proposal is contingent on the approval of over 30 legal waivers, which could jeopardize the plan coming to fruition, and circumvent State laws requiring a public process when disposing of public land.
  • The current plan is slated for construction in 2025 or later. This timeline does not address the current critical and urgent need for supportive services throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Despite several nearby, vacant Commonwealth-owned properties, EOHSS has not performed either an Alternative Analysis or a Feasibility Analysis as a part of their planning process.
One of four example concept designs for the
redevelopment of the Arborway Yard as researched through a 2021 Northeastern study. Many of the buildings shown have “green roofs” to address heat islands and flooding risks in the area.

Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Involvement

Because alternative sites were not evaluated, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy collaborated with Northeastern University to analyze potential alternative sites, with a focus on nearby Commonwealth-owned properties with access to public transportation.

As identified in the study, the Arborway Yard Bus Facility offers a once-in-lifetime opportunity to restore Franklin Park while also improving access to city services. The 18-acre site, being the largest undeveloped area along the Emerald Necklace, offers space to provide the many requirements requested by the MBTA, the City of Boston, the community and HHS, including:

  • 8 acres for community services, residential units, and affordable housing (as required by the 2001 MOU between the MBTA and the City of Boston).
  • Mental health and addiction rehabilitation services and 75-100 units of housing for the formerly unhoused
  • Mixed-use services and recreational greenspace adjacent to public transportation
  • Supportive services adjacent to the Forest Hills T stop and public transportation

We Need Your Help

DCAMM held a virtual public hearing on Tuesday, April 13,to present the draft Project Proposal and provide an opportunity for the public to provide comments.

Approximately half of the speakers at the hearing felt the Arborway Yards site would be the best location for the supportive housing and services; many others expressed their interest, but did not think the state was able to work in our best interest. At the hearing, two former governors, Governor Bill Weld and Governor Michael Dukakis, both spoke and insisted that the Commonwealth can, in fact, take action. Both governors said Boston and the community deserves better than to re-build on the Shattuck site that was previously a part of Franklin Park. Both supported the superior alternative, the nearby 18-acre underdeveloped Arborway Yards site (also under the control of the Commonwealth).

Without preforming a Feasibility Analysis or Alternative Analysis, or further engaging residents of Mattapan, DCAMM’s Asset Management Board voted to move forward with a final RFP on June 29. More information can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/shattuck-campus-redevelopment-at-morton-street-proposal

Please contact DCAMM, HHS, your local City Councilor, State Representatives’ and State Senators.  Contact Information and talking points can be found below.

Contact Information

City and State Elected Officials

·       Your local State Representative and
Senator can be found here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

·       Your local City Councilor can be found here: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/who-my-boston-city-councilor

DCAMM Contact Information:

·       DCAMM Project Manager, Loryn Sheffner: loryn.sheffner@mass.gov

·       DCAMM Commissioner, Carol Gadstone: carol.gladstone@mass.gov

MA Governor’s Office:

·       Contact the Governor’s Office here: https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office

Talking Points
  • Despite several nearby, vacant Commonwealth-owned properties, EOHSS has not performed either an Alternative Analysis or a Feasibility Analysis as a part of their planning process.
  • The Shattuck site is NOT an ideal location for services — it is an isolated site without access to reliable public transportation and neighborhood amenities (grocery stores, schools, houses of worship, places of employment, etc.)
  • The Commonwealth’s current proposal requests a minimum of 75-100 units for the formerly homeless but does not include any provisions for critical “wrap-around” supportive services.
  • The Commonwealth’s proposal provides no State funding for the redevelopment of the site. The proposal offers a private sector developer a 99-year lease of publicly-owned land to build housing and services solely at the provider’s cost.
  • The Commonwealth’s current proposal is contingent on the approval of over 30 legal waivers, which could jeopardize the plan coming to fruition, and circumvent State laws requiring a public process when disposing of public land.
  • The current plan is slated for construction in 2025 or later. This timeline does not address the current critical and urgent need for supportive services throughout the Commonwealth.
  • A final vote should not have been performed without community members being properly engaged, and without an Alternative Analysis or Feasibility Analysis being completed.

Join our friends at the @MuddyWaterInit for what's sure to be a wonderful Watergoat Launch this Sunday! Volunteer cleanups, live goats and a new trash barrier for the Muddy - what more can you ask for?