Agencies and consumers seek continued state aid

From The Republican
By Fred Contrada
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Consumers and officials from the agencies that serve them turned out in force Wednesday to urge state officials not to cut their funding.

Secretary JudyAnn Bigby of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services made the trip to the Haskell Building at the former Northampton State Hospital campus for the second in a series of hearings aimed at helping her shape her fiscal 2012 budget.

Alan J. Klein, senior vice president of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, said further cuts in state aid to his agency would affect the at-risk children it serves, as well as the workers it employs. Klein noted that the state has not increased the rate for the services his agency provides in six years.

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services oversees a wide variety of programs geared towards helping needy families, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities and mental health issues. The hearing was divided into four, one-hour sessions, each addressing a different area of service.

One of the agencies the office oversees is the Soldier’s Home of Holyoke, which last year saw a $900,000 cut restored that would have resulted in the closure of its outpatient services clinic.

Stephen B. Bernard, the chief financial officer for Health and Human Services, told the audience that the office will have to operate in 2012 without the federal stimulus money that gave it some breathing room this year.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick estimates that the absence of that federal money will contribute to up to a $2 billion gap in the state budget he is currently compiling. With fixed costs such as pensions and health care continuing to rise, Patrick has warned that all areas, including aid to cities and towns, could face cuts as he attempts to balance the fiscal 2012 budget.

Robert Whitaker at MHC December 2

Author of Mad in America as well as Anatomy of an Epidemic Robert Whitaker is scheduled to speak at Mount Holyoke College on Thursday, December 2th at 7:30 at Cleveland Hall.

Mad in America
Mad in America
Robert Whitaker, an award-winning journalist and author best known for his work on mental illness, will speak at Mount Holyoke Thursday, December 2 at 7:30 pm in Cleveland L2. His lecture, titled “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Rise of Mental Illness in America,” is open to the public.

While on campus that day, Whitaker will also lead a discussion in psychology professor Gail Hornstein’s first-year seminar, Understanding Mental Health, at 1:15 pm in Reese 324.

In his newest book published this past spring, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, Whitaker confronts a startling statistic: In the past 20 years, the number of Americans disabled due to mental illness has more than doubled–despite spending $40 billion each year on psychiatric medications.

“In media reports, we constantly hear these drugs being hailed as magic bullets, offering effective treatments for depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar illness, and a host of psychiatric conditions,” says Hornstein. “But Whitaker’s exhaustive review of the scientific literature of the past 50 years raises a profoundly troubling question: Do psychiatric medications increase the likelihood that people taking them, rather than being helped, are at risk of becoming chronically ill?”

Hornstein says Whitaker’s book is “important and controversial” and has been called “the Silent Spring of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Hospital development finally taking hold

From The Republican
By Ellie Cook
Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall’s here, and with winter bearing down, projects race to the finish. If this most beautiful season proves long, work can go on right through November.

Village Hill, where the state hospital used to be (the R44 bus still has a Hospital Hill sign), has undergone a huge transformation in the past few years. At first it seemed that people were wary of buying into the new development, and the economy didn’t help.

But according to city businessman and longtime real estate agent Pat Goggins, the Kollmorgen Electro-Optical Corp. plant going up on the South Campus makes people more confident that the development will take hold. “The community has finally decided that it’s really going to happen up there,” he said last week.

He commented, as many have, on the development’s “walkability,” situated as it is about three-quarters of a mile from town, with its bike and walking paths.

Goggins, who is handling the marketing of new homes in the development, talked about the work along the eastern side of the North Campus on Olander Drive.

In the area called Morningside, four single-family houses have been built there, and all of them are now sold, the latest one early this month. Six more will be finished by early next summer; of those, four are “going into the ground in the next six weeks,” builder Jonathan Wright said last week. All six are under deposit, Goggins said. A total of 11 are planned, according to Wright.

Wright attributed the keener interest in those homes to the builders’ expanding the original two designs to seven, some of them “cottage” and “farmhouse” style – a bit smaller and less expensive. The cost ranges from $479,000 to $589,000.

The three four-condo townhouses, opposite Morningside, are two-thirds built. The first building is already entirely owner-occupied. The second is nearly finished, and two of those four condos are under deposit. Around the corner, the final building is set for a spring finish, with one condo already under deposit. They go for $269,000 to $379,000.

A violent stigma for mentally ill

From The Irish Times
By Carl O’Brien
Monday, August 24, 2010

John McCarthy via Irish TimesPsychiatric nurses argue that more staff are needed to manage violent patients – but are patients with mental illness any more violent than the rest of the community?

When the union representing psychiatric nurses launched a campaign for extra staff earlier this month, it painted a disturbing and violent portrait of life on the wards of our mental hospitals.

Due largely to hundreds of staff vacancies, the union argued, there has been a sharp increase in assaults on members of staff. It said 1,314 assaults on staff were recorded last year, up from 966 in 2007 and 1,104 in 2008.

On one occasion eight gardaí in riot gear had to come to the assistance of nurses trying to manage a highly aggressive patient at St Brendan’s Hospital in Dublin. In Ennis, it says, a single patient was being managed 24 hours a day by security staff due to a shortage of nurses and secure facilities.

The result, the Psychiatric Nurses Association said, was that patients suffering from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder were having their recovery threatened by this “frightening and threatening hospital environment”.

The picture depicted by the union, however, has been criticized by some mental health campaigners. John McCarthy, founder of the Mad Pride movement, says the behavior of a small minority of patients has been used to further nurses’ demands for higher staffing levels and better working conditions.

The collateral damage, he says, is that efforts to reduce stigma against people with mental health problems are being undermined.

Madness Radio: Bipolar Medication Myths

From Madness Radio
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Madness RadioIs bipolar disorder a disease? Can medications like lithium correct chemical imbalances and stabilize mood? Do psychiatric drugs act completely differently on the brain than recreational drugs? UK psychiatrist Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, author of The Myth Of The Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment, discusses how seeing psychiatric medications as treatments for disease misleads the public about how they actually work, and obscures their potential for abuse as tools of social control.

Village Hill picks up steam

From The Gazette
by Chad Cain
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Off the Beat: Village Hill picks up steam, despite economy

An anemic economy may have slowed momentum at Village Hill Northampton, but efforts to develop the former state hospital grounds into a mix of homes and businesses is picking up steam this summer.

On the north campus, where most of the homes are being constructed, Wright Builders Inc. reports that interest in its high-end subdivision has revved back up this year. The Northampton company is also a year ahead of schedule in its development of a cluster of townhouses.

Meanwhile, the state agency overseeing the sites overall development is in negotiations with a developer for a 26-home bungalow complex north of the community gardens. MassDevelopment is expected to ink a deal with that unnamed developer rather soon, said spokeswoman Kelsey Abbruzzese.

Finally, on the developments south campus, Kollmorgen Electro-Opticals new 140,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility is expected to be completed in a few months, at which time the company plans to move its 370-plus employee workforce there from its King Street headquarters.

As for the home construction already under way, Jonathan Wright of Wright Builders said that nine of the 11 high-end, single-family lots in its Morningside subdivision are spoken for. Three of those homes are already built and one is under construction. Work on three more is slated for the fall, with two more to begin next spring.

Meanwhile, the 12-unit Eastview townhouse complex is selling fast. The first of three buildings is finished, with the units selling for between $269,000 and $349,000, depending on their location and whether they have two or three bedrooms.

Rust, decay shadow Shaw’s Motel

From The Republican
By Fred Contrada
Friday, August 06, 2010

Shaw's Motel, photo by Dale Ruff / The RepublicanThe Shaw’s we know was a place where lone men and women with mental-health problems could find some semblance of a home. People down on their luck could get a decent bed and some privacy at Shaw’s. There have been drifters and imbibers, sometimes on the run, looking to step back into the shadows for a while.

A long time ago, maybe 20 years, I interviewed a resident of Shaw’s. I couldn’t find the story in our data base, but I recall that he was among those set adrift by the closing of Northampton State Hospital.

We sat in his little box of a room with a fan humming, and he told me his story. I don’t remember the story, only that he was eccentric and shy and maybe a little blinded by the bright light of life. Inside that box he had everything he needed.

Cooley Dickinson transfers behavioral health services

From The Republican
By Fred Contrada
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Following a trend that has seen other hospitals sever their connections with outpatient mental health and substance abuse programs, Cooley Dickinson Hospital is turning over its behavioral health services to a nonprofit provider.

Clinical and Support Options, a Greenfield-based agency, will assume management of Cooley Dickinson’s behavioral health programs, most of which are based at 10 Main St. in Florence and at 170 University Drive in Amherst. The agency will also manage the response team located in the hospital’s emergency department, which treats people with emergency mental health and substance abuse needs.

Leesa-Lee Keith, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care at Cooley Dickinson said most hospital employees working in those programs will transfer to Clinical and Support Options and see patients in the same locations.

“We want, for both the clinicians and the patients, to make this as seamless as possible,” she said.

Finding Home release party at Jones Library

From the Amherst Bulletin
By Suzanne Wilson
Thursday, May 21, 2010

Finding Home book coverIt’s a safe bet that no one who lived in this area in the 1970s and 1980s was unaware of the program called deinstitutionalization. The mouthful of a term referred to the decision to end the long-accepted practice of warehousing people with mental disabilities in institutions such as the Belchertown State School and Northampton State Hospital, which were all too often overcrowded, understaffed, filthy and bleak.

The closings of those institutions and others like them across the state and around the country – bitterly opposed by some – represented a seismic shift in attitudes about the meaning of humane treatment of people with disabilities.

The release party with be held at Jones Library in Amherst on May 25 at 5 p.m. You can find out more about the book as well as place an order at Publishing Works Inc.

Also be sure to check out the Center for Human Development, which like other local agencies such as ServiceNet and the Hampshire Educational Collaborative were created or expanded during the Decentralization movement.

May is Mental Health Month

From DMH
Thursday, April 22, 2010

DMH Celebrates Mental Health Month

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health is promoting this year’s Mental Health Month by raising awareness about mental health and how important it is that all of us enjoy “good” mental health. To help observe Mental Health Month, DMH will host and promote a number of events and activities statewide to promote mental wellness and overall health throughout the Commonwealth.

DMH may close Northampton office

From The Republican
By Fred Contrada
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worcester could become the closest Department of Mental Health area office for consumers in Western Massachusetts as the state considers a consolidation plan.

There are currently six areas of service in Massachusetts designated by the Department of Mental Health. Northampton hosts the office for the Western Massachusetts area on the grounds of the former Northampton State Hospital. The city that has long been a nexus for mental health services could soon be bereft of that resource, however.

The Western Massachusetts Area Community Advisory Board for the Department of Mental Health is asking the state to delay implementation of its plan to consolidate its six regional offices into three so advocates can more effectively plan for the change. Eric S. Brown, the board president, is hoping the department will reconsider its plan altogether.

“It makes absolutely no sense to close this particular office down,” he said, noting the void it would create from Worcester to the Berkshires. “How is someone from Williamstown going to get to Worcester?”

No Review Required

From Northampton Media
By Mary Serreze
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Environmental Review Required for Revised State Hospital Development Plan

A revised development plan for the grounds of the former Northampton State Hospital will require no environmental impact report, ruled Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles on April 9.

The new plan for the development called Village Hill “reflects current development opportunities and market conditions,” wrote Bowles in his decision.

The original master plan for the mixed-use project, approved in 1999 and revised in 2006, called for 207 housing units; the 2009 revision calls for 327 mixed-income units in a variety of housing types. While the original plan called for 476,000 square feet of commercial development, the new plan scales that back to 361,000.

Massachusetts Sweeps Restraint and Seclusion Award

From DMH
Friday, April 2, 2010

Massachusetts Sweeps First-Ever National Award for Reducing and Eliminating Restraint and Seclusion

Massachusetts swept the first-ever awards given by the U.S. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recognizing sustained restraint and seclusion reduction and prevention work. Five of the ten awards were given to Massachusetts’ facilities, including Taunton State Hospital and the nine child/adolescent statewide programs operated by the Department of Mental Health (DMH).

Massachusetts has led the nation in the reduction and elimination of restraint and seclusion since DMH launched its Restraint and Seclusion Elimination Initiative in 2001. In that time, the use of seclusion and restraint has decreased more than 63 percent statewide with more robust reductions in several facilities like Taunton State Hospital which has reduced its use 88 percent and the DMH child/adolescent statewide programs which have reduced total episodes of restraint and seclusion by 93 percent. The DMH statewide programs were the only youth-serving programs in the country to be recognized by SAMHSA.

“I could not be more proud of the work we have done and will continue to do in Massachusetts facilities and I am fully committed to advancing our restraint and seclusion prevention work even further,” said DMH Commissioner Barbara A. Leadholm, M.S., M.B.A. “Congratulations to all of our award winners — they are a shining example of the positive outcomes we strive for as our system continually transforms and promotes recovery-based practices.”

In addition to Taunton State Hospital and the nine DMH child/adolescent programs, SAMHSA’s “Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint Recognition Program” also recognized

Belchertown selectmen want the town and MassDevelopment to help develop former Belchertown State School land

From The Republican
By John Appleton
Monday, March 29, 2010

The Board of Selectmen is supporting plans to link the town with its Economic Development Industrial Corp. and the quasi-public agency MassDevelopment in working jointly on demolition and decontamination at the former Belchertown State School campus.

“I see this as a positive move forward,” Selectmen Chairman James A. Barry said Monday.

The town’s economic development corporation has been working for several years to attract commercial development to the former state school grounds.

Hospital Hill Comments Due by March 30

From The Valley Advocate
By Tom Vannah and Mark Roessler
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A public comment period is open now–until March 30–for those interested in responding to proposed changes made to the master plan for the development on Northampton’s Hospital Hill. The public comment period follows the filing of a Notice of Project Change with the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs by Hospital Hill Development, LLC on March 1. EOEEA Secretary Ian Bowles is scheduled to rule by April 9 on whether the proposed changes require further environmental study.

The formal filing of the notice comes nearly a year after the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) overseeing the project approved a request from developers to add over a hundred housing units to the original plan, diminishing the square footage allotted for office, commercial and community space. While the total site acreage remains the same (124 acres), the acres of land altered from current woodlands and fields expands from 44.8 acres in the original plan to 62 acres.

The original master plan was reviewed and approved by the state in 2003 under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). Subsequent alterations to the plan need to be evaluated to determine whether they warrant further MEPA review. When the original plans for a mixed-use, village-like approach for the site’s southern campus were changed to accommodate the development of Kollmorgen Electro-Optical’s new manufacturing facility, MEPA analysts determined the changes weren’t sufficient to require a re-evaluation of the original approval.

Hospital Hill Seeks Bowles’ Blessing

From The Valley Advocate
By Tom Vannah and Mark Roessler
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On March 1, Hospital Hill Development, LLC, submitted a “Notice of Project Change” to the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, asking OEEA Secretary Ian Bowles to find that the recent changes made to the Village Hill development plans outlined in the report are “insignificant” and do not require further review of the impact on the surrounding environment.

The plan will add more than a hundred new housing units to what is currently open space and woodlands near the Mill River. Should Bowles deem the changes “insignificant,” developers will be allowed to bypass a thorough state review of the changes and eliminate the opportunity for public comment on the finalized plan.

MassDevelopment, in partnership with Springfield-based Community Builders, has been working over the last decade to turn the site of the former Northampton State Hospital into a development that includes housing, offices, retail, and light industry. A local Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) is charged with overseeing the project.

State Hospital Memorial Eligible for CPA Funding

From The Valley Advocate
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By Mark Roessler

A memo sent out last week to the Northampton State Hospital Fountain Committee by Jacky Duda, the group’s chair, announced that the committee is eligible to apply for Community Preservation Funds for the planning and building of a memorial on the former property of historic Northampton State Hospital. The memo accompanied minutes from the group’s first meeting on January 3, 2010.

The group is a subcommittee of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) that has overseen the redevelopment of the site of the former hospital. When it was initially looking for developers for the site in the 1990s, the CAC mandated that prospective applicants include a memorial in the site plan. Last year, the CAC considered multiple locations for the proposed memorial—a cast iron fountain that once stood at the hospital’s entrance. While it’s been decided the fountain will play a central role in the memorial, no design or overall concept has yet been proposed due to lack of funding.

Community Preservation (CP) funds could change that.

A painful loss for mentally ill

From The Boston Globe
By Carolyn Y. Johnson
Saturday, December 19, 2009

More than 100 people have benefited from a ‘hospital without walls,’ but state cuts are threatening their gains.

Suffering from bipolar disorder and experiencing psychotic episodes, Linda Ivy Crowder used to wander the streets all night and frequently get picked up by the police and taken to the hospital. Nearly as soon as she was released, she would end up back in the emergency room.

Finally, she was told she would have to go to a state psychiatric hospital, a prospect that devastated Crowder, who prizes her independence, her apartment, and her beloved cat, Tyler.

Then in August 2008, she began to work with a new team designed to provide intensive support for mentally ill people like Crowder who do not do well with existing treatments. Not only has PACT, short for Program for Assertive Community Treatment, kept Crowder out of the hospital, it has helped her get to a point where she pursues hobbies such as painting, reading, and writing and is even looking for a volunteer job.

But now Crowder and more than 100 other people in the state are bracing for the loss of the program, sometimes called “a hospital without walls.’’ Because of a drop in tax revenues caused by the economic downturn, the state Department of Mental Health is cutting $10.3 million from its $644 million budget. That reduction has very real consequences for people like Crowder and others served by the PACT program, because two of its 16 locations will shut down to save nearly $1.2 million.

Gov. cutting $2.4 million from program

From The Republican via CHD
Monday, December 14, 2009
By Dan Ring

Elfie E. Arocho, of Springfield, said her 26-year-old son is turning his life around with help provided by an intensive clinical program in Springfield for the severely mentally ill.

Now, she is concerned that Gov. Deval L. Patrick has announced plans to abolish the program.

“I would be devastated,” said Arocho, 46. “It would be horrible.”

Patrick is cutting the service to save money that will be used to finance the jobs of 84 case managers in the state Department of Mental Health.

The state expects to save $2.4 million on an annual basis by eliminating the so-called Program for Assertive Community Treatment programs in Springfield and Chelsea. The Center for Human Development, a private, nonprofit agency, has run the program in Springfield under a contract with the state since 2002.

Without eliminating the two programs, the 84 case managers would be laid off, according to a spokeswoman for the Patrick administration.

Arocho said she couldn’t find anything that worked until she enrolled her son in the Springfield program about five years ago. Before that, her son would refuse to take medication and was in and out of hospitals, she said. He once grabbed her by the neck and attempted to choke her. She said she was so afraid of him that she couldn’t allow him to come home, forcing him to the streets.

Also see the follow up article:

Families make plea for program

From The Republican via CHD
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By Dan Ring

A Springfield mother on Tuesday pleaded with an aide to Gov. Deval L. Patrick to cancel plans to abolish a state program that is helping her daughter recover from severe mental illness.

Patricia A. Dickson said her daughter, Takiyah D. Dickson, 25, was in an out of hospitals and plagued by hallucinations and paranoia until about four years ago when she enrolled in a special program for the severely mentally ill called Program for Assertive Community Treatment.

“For this program to end would be devastation for my family,” Dickson told Andrew M. London, an aide to Patrick.

Dickson and her daughter were in a group of parents, mental health professionals and mentally ill people who traveled to the Statehouse to lobby the Patrick administration to retain the special programs in Chelsea and Springfield.

Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics

From the New York Times
Friday, December 11, 2009
By Duff Wilson

Image care of the New York TimesNew federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.

Those findings, by a team from Rutgers and Columbia, are almost certain to add fuel to a long-running debate. Do too many children from poor families receive powerful psychiatric drugs not because they actually need them — but because it is deemed the most efficient and cost-effective way to control problems that may be handled much differently for middle-class children?

The questions go beyond the psychological impact on Medicaid children, serious as that may be. Antipsychotic drugs can also have severe physical side effects, causing drastic weight gain and metabolic changes resulting in lifelong physical problems.

On Tuesday, a pediatric advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration met to discuss the health risks for all children who take antipsychotics. The panel will consider recommending new label warnings for the drugs, which are now used by an estimated 300,000 people under age 18 in this country, counting both Medicaid patients and those with private insurance.

State, town to work on defunct school

From the Amherst Bulletin
Friday, December 11, 2009
By Stephen C. Hill

MassDevelopment and the town’s Economic Development and Industrial Corp. will begin working on a memorandum of agreement to have the agency provide assistance in obtaining grants for the demolition of buildings and cleaning of hazardous materials at the former Belchertown State School.

Sample contracts with Springfield and Chicopee will be forwarded to the EDIC, said Richard Henderson, executive vice president for real estate for MassDevelopment, the commercial development arm of the state that helped redevelop the former Northampton State Hospital, Friday at a meeting with town officials, state legislators and MassDevelopment officers.

Grants for the state school cleanup could be a more readily available source of funding than the $10 million earmarked by the state Legislature for the task. That money would come from a state environmental bond for which $1.4 billion was available and $4.5 billion sought this fiscal year, and with the state’s fiscal situation bleak, other financing sources should be explored, said Anne Marie Dowd, vice president for legislative affairs for MassDevelopment.

Bait & Switch

From Kirby on the Loose
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Image via Kirby on the Loose
Image via Kirby on the Loose

Bait and Switch at the Village?

A lot of people put in applications at the Hilltop Apartments on Village Hill when it opened three years ago, drawn by assurances from its developer, Community Builders, that its apartments would remain affordable. Hilltop has many nice apartments, the upper floors have terrific views, but it still has an institutional air to it. Long windowless corridors, no community space to speak of.

Bill “W” lives there, for now. He is a recovered alcoholic, works in food service in a supermarket. The pace is fast, he deals with the public directly, he works hard, puts in a full forty hour week and sometimes a weekend shift. He earns about $26,000 a year. For the last three years, almost since it opened, he has lived there. It was a big step up from a chaotic druggy rooming house on Green Street where he used to live. Community Builders engineered an $8 million rebuild of the old nurses quarters at the State Hospital, creating 33 apartments. Of the 33 units, 18 were supposed to be low income housing units, 8 would be for Department of Mental Health clients, and seven would be market level. The rents varied, based on your income and the square-footage of the apartments. The range of monthly rents in 2006 were $645 – $850 for a one bedroom apartments, $626 to $1050 for a two bedroom, and $1,050 for the lone three bedroom unit.

We need a mid-course correction on Village Hill

From Kirby on the Loose
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A confession: In the days that Hospital Hill still had a hospital on it, and design aspects seemed as if they could be talked about at public hearings, I got over-involved fighting to save Old Main. Too many meetings. Ask my wife. But even in the thick of it, I wondered if I and other people were being obstructionist: was I involved just because Pat Goggins was the kingpin of the thing and getting about 98% of the commissions on property transfers? MassDevelopment is not a bunch of goons; maybe with Old Main gone and its so-called stigma gone and the old fountain safely crated up in some warehouse, people and industries would flood in, and the city would be better for it.

But it is now 2009, and Old Main is long gone, and many, many millions of state and federal dollars have been put into infrastructure up there. On December 10, 2002 MassDevelopment split up the bulk of the land north of Prince Street into lots for resale. 34 lots, constituting about 34 acres. There are streets up there, but most of them are empty of life. Phase two, which was the area adjacent to Paradise Pond and the Smith playing fields was left undivided. That was the area they were going to build big houses on big lots with views of Paradise Pond.

Six years has gone by, and the developer has had a chance to do his stuff untroubled by pesky community activists. The houses that we saw in all the many plans MassDevelopment has circulated over the years at CAC meetings are now here. Three of them.


From Mary Serreze
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CAC by Mary SerrezeLeft: members of the Hospital Hill Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) deliberate.

In case you missed it the first time—here’s a public document from the archives. Essential reading for anyone who is interested in the Hospital Hill story. In a nutshell: how is it that a lunatic asylum got taken over by a military contractor? Somebody with a more poetic writing style than mine might wish to take that one on. And perhaps the story needs to percolate: ten years from now, how will things be working on Hospital Hill?