We have big news – the biggest news we could possibly bring you.
On June 30th Tufts Medicine – Melrose-Wakefield Healthcare (formerly Wellforce) announced their plan for the redevelopment of the former Malden Hospital site. The press release announcing this redevelopment is available here, as are comments from State and local elected officials That plan includes the following:
- About 9.5 acres of land will be set aside for a public park. The design of that park will be a community effort, involving extensive public input and review, the new park will include the land in both Malden and Medford.
- On the land within the City of Malden, Tufts Medicine plans to tear down all structures (the former hospital, the former furnace house, and any structures other than the buildings now in use), and address any issues of hazardous waste contamination.
- All the land within the borders of the City of Medford will be retained by Tufts Medicine as conservation land, in perpetuity. There will be a pedestrian/nonmotorized vehicle easement onto the rest of the site. Thus, the owners of the Medford land – Tufts Medicine – will continue to be an involved local partner in the development of the new park.
- On the remaining land, Tufts Medicine will develop a single building of about 100,000 square feet, rising from one story to three stories, which will be an in-patient hospital providing behavioral health services. The proposed building will have 144 beds, and will serve the local region much as the geriatric/psychiatric wards in Medford and Melrose do now, and as the ward in Malden Hospital previously did.
- The management and operation of the new facility will be shared between Tufts Medicine and Acadia Healthcare, one of the largest providers of behavioral health services in the country. You can read more about them and their relationship with Tufts Medicine in an article from the Boston Globe (may require sign-in) as well as in the press release.
There are other details regarding patients to be treated, facility management, traffic, site access, timelines, and so on. Some of these are answered on the Tufts Medicine Frequently Asked Questions page. These will be explained to the general public in full at a of public meeting on Tuesday July 19th, 6:00 PM at Malden City Hall. We’ll send out a link as soon as it’s available.
In other words…
YOU DID IT!
Yes, you did this. This plan would not exist without the hard work, loyalty and patience of the Friends of Fellsmere Heights. Your support has made this possible. Assuming that all goes well – including the necessary permitting from the City of Malden – the former Malden Hospital site will serve community healthcare needs and a portion will become a permanent, public park for both our communities to enjoy.
As proof of what you have done, please read this quote from Lori Howley, Executive Director at Tufts Medicine – Melrose-Wakefield Healthcare:
I write to express my thanks to the Friends of Fellsmere Heights for their advocacy and interest in the former Malden Hospital site redevelopment. Our ability to share information greatly informed the redevelopment plans for the site. We are excited that these plans include more than nine acres that will be set aside for open space and conservation for Medford and Malden. We are looking forward to continuing to engage with you and the greater community throughout the regulatory and local permitting process.
Many of our elected officials have spoken in favor of this plan. Of particular note are these comments (emphasis added):
“This plan represents an exciting way to honor both the history of the Malden Hospital site and the neighborhood’s wishes to prioritize conservation here,” said Malden Ward 3 City Councilor Amanda Linehan. “I’m looking forward to diving right into an inclusive public engagement process that will give residents a chance to learn about the plans and share their vision for this new open space coming to our city. I want to especially thank the local advocates who fought for years to ensure public health would remain core to the site’s future. This is a project that we can all be proud of.”
Is the proposed plan perfect? No, of course not. Much remains to be discussed, including what the process will be to plan, implement, and maintain the new public space in the long term. And I’m sure we all have many questions about the proposed new building and its intended uses. We urge you to stay involved and participate in the planning process.
But also … take a minute to think about what’s been achieved here. You did this. If all goes well, thousands of people you will never know will be picnicking and strolling, running and biking, maybe watching movies under the stars, or just enjoying a quiet day in the new park because you cared enough to respond to a survey, attend a meeting, sign a petition, maybe make a donation or two. The voice of the people – your voice – was heard. YOU DID THIS.
What’s next? We need to assess the proposed plan and get your feedback. The board of the Friends of Fellsmere Heights has not, and will not, endorse this plan without hearing from our members. The first step is for you to sign up for notifications at the site for the project and for as many of us as possible to attend the upcoming public meeting(s). We’ll be sure to keep you posted as to dates, times, and locations.
The Friends of Fellsmere Heights will be holding its Annual Meeting on July 16th at 10:00 AM via Zoom. Members – those who gave $15.00 or more in 2021 – will be voting on officers and changes to the by-laws as the first order of business, and we plan to honor two of our most persistent volunteers (more on that at the meeting). After that, we will open the floor for discussion of this plan, and all are welcome to share their opinions and concerns. Please respond to [email protected] if you want to attend the meeting.