In major win for open space, historic landmarks and affordable housing, Governor Baker approves CPA funding increase
A measure to permanently increase statewide funding for the Community Preservation Act (CPA) has been signed into law by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a victory for communities working to protect open space, preserve historic places, and create affordable housing.
The Trustees of Reservations (Trustees) is proud to support the CPA and advocated for the state increase.
“CPA is a critical program helping to keep history alive and communities vibrant,” said Jocelyn Forbush, Trustees Chief of Operations & Programs. “It’s also a way for cities and towns to fund important resilience measures like green, open space, helping to prepare our homes, businesses, and landmarks for the accelerating impacts of a changing climate.”
A unique partnership between the state and local communities, the Act allows cities and towns to “opt-in,” and create their own local “Community Preservation Fund,” powered by a property tax surcharge of 3% or less, and matched by the state Community Preservation Trust. As a result of the approved increase, additional yearly revenue of $36 million is expected to be available for CPA communities, according to the Community Preservation Coalition (CPC). The measure was included in the FY20 state budget, signed by Governor Baker on Wednesday, July 31.
“We are also happy to report that the budget additionally included language that would provide up to $20 million in budget surplus funds for the November 2019 CPA Trust Fund distribution,” CPC wrote in a post announcing the approval. “Should a budget surplus be available, these funds would avoid a record-low disbursement this year.”
Currently, 175 communities in the state (approximately 50%) have adopted CPA, preserving over 29,000 acres of open space, creating more than 5,700 affordable housing units, and allowing for the protection of over 5,100 historic preservation projects. For The Trustees, CPA has helped fund projects at many of its properties, including Turkey Hill in Cohasset, The Old Manse in Concord, Agassiz Rock Reservation in Manchester, and Naumkeag in Stockbridge.
“What some communities may not know is that the CPA can also be a key source for funding resilience projects in towns and cities facing climate change impacts through projects including rain gardens, coastal buffers, flood plain protection and restoration, and tree-planting in parks and playgrounds,” Trustees Director of Policy Jen Ryan wrote in a May 2019 blog. “With important climate-adaptation, community resilience-focused projects planned in the near term—including a Trustees effort to preserve open green space on Boston’s shrinking waterfront—these funds will not only conserve our lands, but also protect them and the people who live and work nearby.”
To learn more about CPA, or to explore CPA-funded projects across the Commonwealth, visit: https://www.communitypreservation.org/databank/projectsdatabase