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 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Most services are planned to relocate to the Newton Pavilion at Boston Medical Center in the South End.

At the Shattuck site, HHS plans to build 75-100 units of housing for the formerly unhoused, along with a recovery campus with out-patient services. While the agency held a community process, they have not evaluated alternative options or sites for services not moving to the South End.

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

Without considering alternative sites, The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) intends to submit a Project Proposal for the long-term redevelopment of the Lemuel L. Shattuck Hospital.

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).

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy looks to the Governor and City leaders to prove we can do great things, and can work together to provide the best solution for all needs, which is found in the Arborway Yard.

Additionally, on April 27, 2021, the MBTA announced that the Arborway Yard site is next in line to be modernized and converted to electric buses. This, combined with timely federal funding focused on Resilient Green Transportation Infrastructure Investments, could mean development of the Arborway Yard will be faster than redeveloping the Shattuck site, which still faces numerous waivers and an Article 80 process.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that cannot be ignored. Please submit a public comment to DCAMM to urge the State to consider the Arborway Yard as an alternative site for the services currently provided at the Shattuck Hospital. Comments can be submitted via:  

Email: email Loryn Sheffner at loryn.sheffner@mass.gov  

Mailed: 

Loryn Sheffner, DCAMM 

1 Ashburton Place, 15th Floor 

Boston, MA 02108 

For questions, please email Julia Damiano, ENC Volunteer Engagement and Policy Coordinator, at jdamiano@emeraldnecklace.org.

We are excited to welcome you back to the reopened Shattuck Visitor Center at 125 The Fenway!

Visit us Weds-Friday from 9:30-5:00 to learn about the Necklace, pick up a free map or use our public restrooms. Hours will be expanding, so check for updates at http://bit.ly/3gLzsBb

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