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Sep 30th
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the future of Greystone Park

The Kirkbride building at Greystone Park was built with great care, finest craftsmanship and created to last for centuries. I am pleased to read that our Governor is open to the possibility for its preservation and restoration. I trust that the term "open space" in the Governor's remarks about converting Greystone Park includes public access, not demolition, to this once-beautiful property which is now under 24x7 police surveillance (ostensibly to prevent vandalism, however well-intentioned visitors are kept away) as well as sustainable adaptive reuse of the Kirkbride building. When the Kirkbride building was designed and built, the ground-breaking trend in mental health treatment was to create asylum (place of refuge) for ill people where fresh air, natural light, beautiful surroundings and purposeful activity were believed to promote cure. In the early years, the health benefits were so highly regarded that entire families vacationed there for their restorative effects. Despite its highly publicized history of overcrowding and under-funding, the Kirkbride building stands as a testament to the intent of humane treatment. This magnificent property deserves refurbishing rather than neglect so that future generations can learn from its example and benefit from its adaptive reuse. The possibilities for adaptive reuse are virtually without limit: a college extension, a health and wellness center, a small business incubator, a Dorothea Dix museum of mental health, and so on... The Kirkbride building is large enough that all of these forms of adaptive reuse may co-exist. Let's not continue to abandon this gem to further neglect and decay or relegate it to dismantling, which will create unnecessary waste and land-fill.

 

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