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City backs off Radius proposal

MB Miller
City backs off Radius proposal
The former Radius Hospital site on Townsend Street, Roxbury.

Mayor Martin Walsh is to be commended for his decision to discontinue plans to utilize the Radius Specialty Hospital as a residential addiction treatment facility. The mayor has demonstrated both a sensitivity to the will of the community and an awareness that the Townsend Street site is inappropriate.

Years ago the Jewish Memorial Hospital was a small medical facility set far back from the curb on its Townsend Street site. Its sloping front lawn attracted children from the area to sled there in the winter. It was a discreet and unassuming neighbor before it expanded to become the imposing Radius Specialty Hospital.

Expansion of the original structure first consumed the sledding hill then it extended the front wall right up to the sidewalk. Construction in the rear pushed the building to the junction of Harrishof and Haley Streets. Now the building is out of scale for its location of abutting one-to-three family homes and small, three-story apartment buildings.

The building is also in the middle of an active school district. That is certainly an inappropriate location for a drug rehab center. A few steps away is the old Henry Lee Higginson School building which is now an early education center. One black away is the David A Ellis Elementary School. A block and a half down Harrishof Street is the William Monroe Trotter Elementary School. Two short blocks away down Walnut Avenue is the Higginson-Lewis Middle School.

Local citizens are rightly concerned that temporary housing for the homeless in the Radius building would soon morph into a habitual residence with a drug treatment component. Residents of the local Munroe Park area of Roxbury are determined to maintain the spirit of a middle class residential community, even as urban problems fester elsewhere. A drug center in its midst would not be helpful.