Local officials and the Cultural Alliance of Medfield are working on several fronts to make the proposed cultural center on the Medfield State Hospital grounds a reality.
The group is hoping to house such a center in the hospital’s Lee Chapel and infirmary buildings.
The effort was bolstered recently as selectmen voted - at their Dec. 18 meeting - to ask the town’s legislative delegation to pass a bill allowing for a 99-year lease of the structures. Alliance President Jean Mineo noted that Special Town Meeting had authorized the board to enter into the lease, but town attorney Mark Cerel thought it best to get legislative approval as well.
“Typical procurement laws limit (leases) to 30 years,” Mineo said. “As I understand it, it’s a fairly simple process, as there are no budget implications or effect on other towns.”
Mineo said that conversations with the town’s lawmakers - State Sen. Paul Feeney and state representatives Denise Garlick and Shawn Dooley - had been positive.
“Once that passes, we’ll be able to begin conversations about the lease with selectmen,” she said. “The three (legislators) have been very helpful - they’ve been waiting in the wings, as the master plan advanced, until they were in a position where they could help. They’ve been very generous.”
According to Mineo, Feeney had also offered to seek a state budget allocation for the project. She has requested that selectmen write a letter in support of such a move. The group has also been in discussions with other state organizations - like the tourism department - about possible available funds.
In the meantime, the alliance has been raising funds to match a state grant. Mineo said the group had garnered $20,000 of its $25,000 goal.
Beyond that, the group is also seeking state historic tax credits for the project, Mineo said.
“There’s a lot of balls in the air,” she said.
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