A local group provided the Malden City Council with a refresher on an alternative proposal for the Malden Hospital site.
At its May 1 meeting, members of the Friends of Fellsmere Heights presented a plan to the city council that would see the Malden Hospital site turn into a large area of open space for public use.
The proposal would turn over 16 acres of the property’s 18.3 total into open space, including lots of greenspace, a pond, event space for things such as concerts, walking and bike trails and a community garden. The remainder of the area, about 2 acres, would contain about 60 housing units -- which is the max allowed under the current zoning -- and community space. The plan was largely devised by current Malden Planning Board Member Jessica Wolfe prior to her appointment to the board. She and the rest of the group presented the plan at a public meeting at the Beebe School in June of 2015. Though the proposal hasn’t changed since then, the group now has a potential new funding mechanism in place in the form of money from the Community Preservation Act, which was only passed last year.
According to the presentation shown at the meeting, the group could raise as much as $6 million using grants, donations and CPA funds from both Malden and Medford, of which $1.6 million would come from Malden’s portion of the CPA.
Though the CPA has opened up a new funding source for the group, the $6 million total is still well shy of the $11 million to $14 million total that the group estimated back in 2015. The land was originally set aside for a Hospital by Malden’s first mayor, Elisha Converse, and one of his descendants was present at the meeting to speak in favor of the Friends of Fellsmere Heights’ vision for the space. “The city still holds a special place in our hearts and minds,” said Peter Converse, the former mayor’s great-great grandson and current Rhode Island resident. “We believe that, were he alive today, he would support the proposal.” The group was asked to speak at the meeting by Council President Debbie DeMaria, in an effort to “be equitable to all parties.” Though the land is currently own by Hallmark Health, which is a part of Wellforce, the city has a measure of control over the property through zoning. The area is currently zoned for single family homes only, and would need to be changed by the council in order for anything else to happen on that property.
The company’s current proposal, through developer Fellsmere Housing Group, calls for 250 housing units, 214 of which would be in one four to five story building