Apply by July 30 for CPC funding of Housing, Open Space, Recreation, or Preservation projects

by beth on July 13, 2021

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The Community Preservation Committee is calling for new proposals with the goal of bringing projects to Annual Town Meeting in the spring. The window to apply closes this month.

At Annual Town Meeting in May, residents who want CPC funds to be used for Affordable Housing projects or for projects in/near their neighborhoods were encouraged to propose them.

The comments were in response to questions about lack of CPC Housing projects and criticism of the amount of funding allocated to preservation projects on or near main roads close to the center of town.*

For a project to be approved by the CPC for potential funding, it must fall under at least one of the following categories: Community Housing, Open Space, Recreation, or Historic Preservation:

The Community Preservation Committee shall make recommendations to the Town Meeting for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition, rehabilitation, restoration and preservations of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; for the creation, preservation support of community housing; and for the rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in this section. With respect to community housing, the Community Preservation Committee shall recommend, wherever possible, the reuse of existing buildings, or construction of new buildings on previously developed sites.

In addition to meeting eligibility criteria, applicants are asked to justify a community need for the project. Applications also ask about implementation and maintenance plans for projects.

CPC projects approved by Town Meeting voters are funded by Community Preservation Act funds. (Although the CPC often encourages applicants to identify supplemental funding sources.) CPA funds are a combination of a surcharge of 1% on all Southborough real estate tax assessments and a partial match by the state.

Town departments and officials, often seek CPC funding as a way to fund projects without increasing the Town’s Operating Budget and therefore property taxes. This spring, voters approved projects related to the Town House, town-owned Southborough Historical Museum (aka Flagg School), and Kallander Field (a recreation field).

But projects also can be proposed by community members (or residents who drum up support and collaboration from Town committees/boards), like the project to support the restoration/preservation of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s historic bell tower and the preservation restriction on the Burnett Estate.

To apply for project funding, complete the application form here. Email the application to Andrew Mills, CPC Chair at amills@southboroughma.com AND Frederica Gillespie, CPA Consultant at fg.cpaconsulting@gmail.com by Friday, July 30th.

The CPC will then review applications and schedule meetings to discuss proposals with applicants. Any ultimately approved funding would be for FY23 at the earliest (which begins July 1, 2022.)

You can learn more about the CPC here.

*Questions were raised during a discussion of the controversial project to preserve the St. Mark’s Church’s bell tower. Keturah Martin asked about the impact to funding available for future Affordable Housing projects. Both Al Hamilton and Claire Reynolds objected to the Tower project, noting to a geographical imbalance in allocated funds. Other projects along Main Street include historical preservation projects for the Burnett Estate, the Southborough Library, and the Old Burial Ground, Flagg School, and now the Town House. Funds were also allocated to the golf course on Route 85.

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