State moves on ‘recovery campus’ for Shattuck site

A long-awaited decision about how to re-purpose the13-acre, state-owned Shattuck Hospital campus next to Franklin Park took one step closer to resolution this week. On Tuesday, the state’s Department of Public Health made public its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the site, calling for around 100 units of permanent supportive housing and other substance use disorder treatment services on what would be a “recovery campus.”

“We hope to identify a partner with development and healthcare experience, a mission and vision that are aligned with the inclusive public health purpose of the site, and the capability to execute this complex project,” said Undersecretary of Public Health Lauren Peters in a letter sent out to members of the Shattuck’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) on June 13.

The Shattuck is in the process of relocating to a former Boston Medical Center building in the South End. As part of that process, the state convened a number of meetings with Franklin Park and South End neighbors and the CAB over the past two years about what to do with the 13-acre campus after the move and the demolition of the Shattuck building.

Early on, the area was identified as a prime place for a “recovery campus” working in conjunction with any prospective city-owned recovery campus on Long Island.

However, as planning continued, there was a divide between communities in Dorchester, Mattapan, and parts of Jamaica Plain and the South End.

While the state and those in the South End wanted a recovery campus, many adjacent neighborhoods to Franklin Park felt it should all become open space. To that point, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Mayor Michelle Wu said last year that the property should be re-claimed as green space, and any recovery campus should be located elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the RFP holds to the original vision of providing a recovery campus type of development. It asks for the creation of 75-100 units of new permanent supportive housing; creation and operation of new clinical space focused on behavioral health, specifically Substance Use Disorder treatment; and connections to the natural environment that are compatible with Franklin Park.

Peters wrote that the selection process is likely to take several months, and submissions will be evaluated by a consortium of state agencies.

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