By Grace Mayer
FRAMINGHAM – The newly-formed Community Preservation Committee met virtually Monday night, August 16, and ran through training to adopt and implement the Community Preservation Act in the City of Framingham.
The Committee met with Executive Director of the Community Preservation Coalition, a nonprofit that helps communities adopt and implement the Community Preservation Act.
Executive Director Stuart Saginor Walked the committee members through training.
According to the CPC’s website, “The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities.”
The website also stated that the CPA helps strengthen Massachusetts and local economies by increasing housing opportunities, construction jobs, and supporting the tourism industry through preserving historic and natural resources.
The 9-member Committee was created by the City Council in 2021, after Framingham voters adopted the Community Preservation Act via a November 2020 ballot question 19,078 to 11,414.
Framingham became the 178th community in the Commonwealth to adopt the Community Preservation Act.
The adoption allowed the City to charge a 1% tax on property owners to pay for open space, historic preservation, recreation and community housing development projects.
During its first year, the Committee is expected to create a plan for projects in Framingham, submit a fiscal year 2022 budget to the Framingham’s City Council, and hold a public hearing for Framingham residents to participate and comment on possible project ideas.
The Committee met for the first time last month.
By adopting the Community Preservation Act (CPA), each year the Framingham Committee is expected to spend or save 10% of their yearly budget on housing projects, historic projects, and open space and recreation projects, including playground, parks, wetlands, and forest lands, totaling 30% of its budget.
Saginor provided examples of the projects that other municipalities have done since adopting the CPA.
In North Andover, its committee dedicated funds to renovating an abandoned nursing home into affordable housing.
In Westfield, a historic whip factory, for horses and buggies, was preserved and made into a museum.
Across the Commonwealth, committees have rebuilt over 300 playgrounds within the past 10 years.
Since the CPA was signed into law by Governor Paul Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift in 2000, Saginor said there have been over 12,800 projects across Massachusetts.
“This is really the golden age of CPA,” Saginor said. “The program’s really hit its stride. We are now in 187 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, which is more than half the cities or towns.”
According to Saginor, 65% of residents in Massachusetts live in an area where CPA has been adopted.
By fall 2022, Saginor said the Framingham Committee should begin accepting project proposal.
By spring 2023, the Committee should approve they’re first project in Framingham, said the state director.
The Committee also discussed their progress on developing a webpage for the Framingham government website.
Committee member Shannon Stevens was appointed the title of Committee Finance Administrator and is responsible for tracking the group’s finances.
The 9-member Committee voted former Planning Board Chair Thomas Mahoney chair and former City Councilor Judith Grove vice chair at its first meeting.
The Committee will hold its next meeting Monday, August 23.
“It’s really a program that communities embrace and find that they get great benefit from,” Saginor said.
Grace Mayer is a 2021 SOURCE summer intern. She is a Boston College student.