Opinion: Time has come to revitalize Lakeville Hospital site

Nov 2, 2022

To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my strongest support for a “Yes” vote on Article 15 to amend the zoning bylaws that will allow for the Lakeville Hospital redevelopment process to move forward.

As a resident of Lakeville for the past 25 years, I have seen various attempts to redevelop the site. Time and time again, efforts were rebuffed for various reasons or promises not kept. But, the time to move forward is now.

The Rhino proposal has incorporated community input/engagement and offers us the best (and quite likely last) chance to fully remediate the environmental hazards on the site; remove the temptation for vandalism causing an unnecessary use of municipal services; generate annual revenue for the Town; create employment opportunities; and, demonstrate to the region that Lakeville is a viable community for responsible growth.

In attending the Oct. 19 meeting, I heard the call for a mixed-use development vs marketing the site as primarily warehouse, office or distribution. No doubt we would all love to frequent restaurants, shops and retail-oriented amenities. But, the fact is that the region’s demographics just don’t warrant a “Derby Shops” type of development in Lakeville. Nor do we have the necessary infrastructure for the thousands of visitors that type of development would bring.

While many of the abutter’s valid concerns of noise/traffic/sightlines have been addressed, a Development Agreement between the town and the property owner, would/should include provisions for continued dialogue throughout the development process. For those concerned about establishing a precedent, we should include language that makes the zoning amendment be restricted to this site.

The time has finally come to move forward and revitalize the site. I encourage Lakeville residents to raise their colored cards and vote “Yes” on Article 15.

Larry Simpson