Burlington’s Town Meeting failed to approve Lahey Clinic by the required two-thirds majority. The vote was 791 in favor, 586 opposed. The hospital wanted to move from its cramped Kenmore Square location to a 40-acre tract uphill from the new Burlington Mall, but the town clearly was struggling with pros and cons.
The pros included the financial boost to the town via a $200,000 annual payment in lieu of taxes, priority beds for Burlington residents and lots of educational and wellness clinics conducted by some of the best medical pros in the region. The cons boiled down to the Home Depot effect: Would local doctors lose their patients to a “big box” hospital? Was $200k enough to cover the strain on town infrastructure? Lahey repeatedly refined its proposal and won approval from Town Meeting in 1971, by a vote of 1,622-375 through a secret ballot, the first one ever held.
While Burlington balked, Lowell immediately tried to woo Lahey:
What else happened 50 years ago? Burlington adopted an elementary school dress code. Pants optional, apparently.
What else? Selectmen proudly announced sewer connections were available for the college-themed neighborhood off Francis Wyman Road: Mellin Street, Lida Ave., Dartmouth Road, Bates Street, William Circle, Amherst Road, Kempton Ave., Overlook Ave., Josephine Ave. and part of University Ave.
And some bad news. A local boy apparently went wrong:
And horrible news: Smoke inhalation from a smoldering couch at 4 Robert Street killed 64-year-old James Driscoll and wife Elsie, 69, along with several pets. The cause? A cigarette, of course. The couple was childless but spent a lot of time with the neighborhood children, even baking cookies for them and having them as guests.