The state government has boosted an effort to place a cultural center at the Medfield State Hospital site.
Gov. Charlie Baker, on July 26, signed into law a bill that would allow for the long-term lease of the hospital’s Lee Chapel and infirmary building, a necessary step in the process. Representatives from the Cultural Alliance of Medfield - which is spearheading the campaign to establish a cultural center there - said a 99-year lease is essential for a needed historic tax credit. Without the Legislature’s action, the town would only be able to approve a 30-year pact.
Jean Mineo, the president of CAM, said she was thrilled to see the progress made thus far.
“It’s very exciting to have cleared another hurdle in the process,” she said.
Mineo praised the work of the town’s legislators - state representatives Denise Garlick, DNeedham, and Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, and State Sen. Paul Feeney, D-Foxborough - as well as Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler for their work on the bill.
“When there were questions on the language, everyone was working collaboratively and quickly to answer them,” she said.
The next step, said Mineo, would involve lease negotiations between the town and CAM. The alliance will be seeking a commitment from Medfield - like a memorandum of understanding - as it works to push the project forward. Such a document would be essential as the group raises funds for the center.
“We need a commitment that says we would be able to use the money in the way we say,” Mineo said. “It would provide some reassurance.”
She said she was grateful for the support the project has received so far, and excited to continue the work.
The hope is to turn the chapel and infirmary buildings into a venue for performing arts, lessons, lectures and visual arts exhibits. The alliance is committed to raising funds to make the center a reality.
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