By Jack Patrick Lewis
FRAMINGHAM – I have the great honor of representing both Framingham and Ashland on Beacon Hill. It has given me the opportunity to see close-up the benefits that adopting the Community Preservation Act (CPA) has brought to Ashland and the cost to Framingham of not adopting it over the last two decades.
Ashland embraced CPA in 2002 as a funding source for new community-based projects. Adopting the CPA helped Ashland meet the evolving needs of residents, implement strategies to preserve and enhance the town’s history and culture, and fund numerous town projects that have dramatically increased residents’ quality of life. These are opportunities that Framingham residents could be enjoying too.
Ashland residents, through a very modest CPA surtax, have raised over $14 million for intentional investments into their community, investments that were matched with over $5.5 million in state aid. The results speak for themselves.
Ashland used CPA funds to acquire and preserve the 118 acres of Warren Woods, to improve and enhance their Riverwalk Trail while also making it ADA accessible, to construct a recreation pavilion at their Community Center, to improve and expand playgrounds throughout Town, and to make park benches, bleachers, and dugouts at Stone Park fully accessible.
Why has Framingham not done what Ashland and 176 other cities and towns have done? What Framingham parcels could we have preserved as open space? What long-delayed or hoped for outdoor recreation projects could have been completed? What historical landmarks could have been preserved? How many seniors, priced out of the community they call home, could have been able to spend their golden years in Framingham?
I invite you to imagine the Framingham projects that a Community Preservation Fund would support. Imagine protecting Framingham’s increasingly threatened open space from development. Imagine expanded and improved outdoor recreation with more walking/biking trails, new canoeing/kayaking opportunities at Farm Pond, the city’s first splash pad and dog park, and much-needed upgrades to city beaches. Imagine preserving and celebrating
Framingham’s rich history, including the Athenaeum Hall (1847) and the Hemenway Homestead (1740). Imagine intentional housing in Framingham designed for people with disabilities and that allows our community’s seniors to age in place.
Please join me in making our dreams for Framingham’s future a reality by voting “yes” on Question 3.
Jack Patrick Lewis is a Framingham resident and is the elected State Representative for the Town of Ashland and one-third of the City of Framingham.