In November 2016, 74% of Boston voters approved the Community Preservation Act to raise funds for affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space. An expected $20 million will be raised annually through a 1% surcharge on real estate taxes. Applicants can submit project proposals to the Community Preservation Committee who make determinations in spring and fall funding rounds.
The Alliance worked with statewide and local advocates, especially the Yes for a Better Boston campaign, to bring the Community Preservation Act to Boston. The Alliance's Director of Advocacy serves as Chair of the Preservation Community Advisory Group which serves to assist applicants through the process and provide feedback to the Community Preservation Committee. As Boston largest single source of funding for historic preservation needs, the Alliance feels that the CPA is a crucial tool to protect, promote, and preserve the city's historic character.
Highlights from our activity log:
• June 20, 2018
City Council unanimously approves Docket #0914, the recommended slate of projects which total $8,035,055. This includes 35 projects in 18 Boston neighborhoods: 12 historic preservation, 3 affordable housing, 13 open space/parks, and 7 blended, meaning more than one category. All of these projects are shovel-ready and should begin soon. The fall funding round is set to open on August 15 with applications due September 30.
• June 19, 2018
The following letter is submitted to the Boston Globe by Alliance Director of Advocacy, Alison Frazee, who also serves as co-chair of Yes for a Better Boston:
Yes for a Better Boston Supports Blended CPA Projects
After a hugely successful campaign, winning by 74%, and thoughtful implementation from the Community Preservation Committee and CPA staff, Boston's Community Preservation Act funds are going out the door to incredibly worthwhile and exciting projects. Yes for a Better Boston has been there every step of the way. As a broad and diverse coalition of advocates representing affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space organizations, we have been a vocal supporter of CPA and helped guide the implementation process.
Through common goals we have learned the value of each of our areas of passion towards retention of the unique character of Boston's neighborhoods. More so than ever before, affordable housing activists appreciate historic buildings and seek their rehabilitation instead of demolition. Historical Societies recognize the importance of affordable housing for neighborhood vibrancy. Park projects include restoration of historic landscapes. Through our cooperative effort we have fostered dialogue and built relationships that result in better projects and stronger communities.
We support the Committee's encouragement of blended projects. When applicants collaborate towards a common goal, we can assure that every dollar of CPA money, our money, crosses barriers and goes as far as possible for the betterment of Boston.
-Yes for a Better Boston co-chairs, Alison Frazee, Cortina Vann, and Liz Vizza
• June 18, 2018
City Council hears presentations from applicants whose projects have been recommended for funding by the Community Preservation Committee. Applicants provide visuals and give brief statements about their projects.
• June 13, 2018
Update from the Community Preservation Office: Boston City Council will hold a public meeting on Monday, June 18 to discuss the slate of projects that the Community Preservation Committee has proposed for funding in the pilot round. Applicants are invited to give brief presentations about their projects, answer questions from the Council, and provide visuals for public viewing. The public is invited to attend and speak. The hearing will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the Iannella Chambers on the 5th floor of Boston City Hall.
• June 1, 2018
Alliance staff sends request to Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Sanchez asking for support for the Senate's amendment in the reconciled FY19 budget.
• May 22 and 31, 2018
Alliance staff attends the public Community Preservation Committee meetings to better understand the goals and priorities of the committee.
Senate Budget Amendment #3 (Community Preservation Act) is unanimously adopted. The amendment calls for a $30 increase to the recording fees at the State's Registries of Deeds, providing a higher state match to all CPA communities in November 2019. Though still preliminary, estimates indicate a 30% match for first round distributions. Because this revenue was not included in the House budget, a six-member conference committee will be charged with reconciling the differences and will have to agree to include it in the final budget. The report is expected by the end of June.
• May 18, 2018
The Alliance sends request to State Senators asking for their support of Budget Amendment #3 that would raise revenue for the state match.
• April 2018
Applications are due for CPA's pilot round in Boston. Alliance staff guides potential applicants and continues to have conversations with Community Preservation staff, Boston Landmarks Commission staff, and the preservation community.
YBB moves from campaigning to supporting the development of the CPA in Boston, working with statewide partners to outline an appropriate process for Boston.
Boston City Council ordered to place CPA on the fall ballot. The advocacy coalition raises funds and hires a campaign manager and the group is assumes the name of Yes for a Better Boston (YBB) as they campaign across the city. The Alliance encourages supporters to contact their councilors in support of CPA; staff speaks in favor at City Council hearing. The ballot question passes by 74%.
Advocate group conducts polling of likely 2016 voters to gather data. Alliance works with others to gauge level of support from Boston residents, business owners, and City officials and to meet with City Councilors to promote the CPA.
Advocates meet to discuss a CPA campaign, ultimately deciding to wait until the 2016 elections. Executive Director, Greg Galer, joins coalition of CPA advocates.
The Alliance advocates for the Community Preservation Act but the measure fails at the ballot box.