BOSTON – Friday, August 16, 2019 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the release of applications for Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for fall 2019. The application calls for CPA eligible projects that are ready to begin construction in the next 18 months, bringing new investments in affordable housing, parks and open space, and preservation of historic sites to Boston’s neighborhoods. Interested parties should submit their full application by September 27, 2019.
“The three components of the Community Preservation Act — affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation — connect the past, present, and future of a community,” said Mayor Walsh. “I invite residents and organizations to submit their applications for funding and I look forward to recommending great projects that will help us restore history and strengthen our communities.”
The Community Preservation Fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017 after voters adopted the measure in November 2016. The last round of CPA awards in February 2019 funded $34 million to 56 projects across the city, including affordable housing developments and programs, parks and open space, and historic preservation projects consistent with statewide guidelines.
The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is committed to broad community participation, supporting accessible and visible projects that have a positive impact on neighborhoods and residents. CPA staff has been hosting community conversations in various neighborhoods to explain the eligibility requirements and the application process to residents and organizations interested in applying for funding. Following the application deadline, the CPC will meet to review applications and recommend projects to the Mayor and City Council for approval.
“As a housing developer, community volunteer, lover of historic buildings, and longtime Roxbury resident, I feel honored to be tasked with the challenge of recommending transformative CPA projects to our Mayor and City Council,” said Felicia Jacques, chair of the Community Preservation Committee. “Our neighborhoods have not had a boost like this in years, possibly ever. It’s thrilling to see CPA signs on fences, buildings, and backstops across the City!”
CPA funds contribute to building strong neighborhoods through strategic investments that support affordable housing, open space and historic preservation. Mayor Walsh recently announced the ONE+Boston mortgage, which utilizes $3.8 million in Community Preservation funds to finance a permanent reduction in the interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The ONE+Boston mortgage product will be offered by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) to income-eligible Bostonians buying their first home within the city limits and was supported by the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) and Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).
In just two years, CPA’s impact in Boston includes funding more than 225 units of affordable housing at a range of income levels, new parks and playgrounds, the creation of community gardens and urban farms, and the rescue of historic buildings in nearly every neighborhood. Projects selected in previous application rounds include awarding CPA funds for basketball courts in Roxbury, affordable housing for seniors in East Boston, and preserving the historic home of John Adams’ Secretary of War in Charlestown, just to name a few.
“We’ve wanted a park in our Dorchester neighborhood forever. The most accessible greenspace now is across busy Talbot Ave to Franklin Field or across Blue Hill Ave to the stone wall around Franklin Park,” said Laquisa Burke from the West of Washington Coalition. “They are a long walk, especially with little kids. But thanks to CPA we’ve purchased three plots of land next to the new Fairmount train station. We’ll have a playground, picnic tables, a monarch butterfly garden, and best of all, a place where our neighbors can gather for the annual barbecue!”
As part of his 2019 legislative agenda, Mayor Walsh has been advocating for adjusting the surcharge on fees for recording deeds to increase the State CPA match, protecting the Act that more than 170 cities and towns depend on for the creation of affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation. When municipalities voted to enact CPA, they did so with the promise of a substantial state match. This year, the match was just 11 percent with a one-time surplus allotment added, but the CPA bill people voted for is no longer the same bill. The FY20 State budget increases the match, raising an estimated additional $36 million in revenue, putting the state match at around 30 percent and allowing us to invest more in our communities.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT (CPA)
After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage.