State legislation has been introduced in Massachusetts to sustain a groundbreaking local-state partnership for community preservation.
The Community Preservation Act (CPA), passed in 2000, allows towns and cities to create dedicated local funding for open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing, and recreation. Funds generated locally are matched annually by grants from a statewide CPA Trust Fund.
But this partnership is in jeopardy. Revenue for the CPA Trust Fund comes from fees collected at the Registries of Deeds. But those fees have never been adjusted, while the number of participating communities has reached 158 — 45 percent of the state’s municipalities.
Without additional funds, the CPA state match is projected to fall below 20 percent this year, a record low. “An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue,” filed in the House by Rep. Stephen Kulik and in the Senate by Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, would provide for a minimum 50 percent CPA Trust Fund distribution for all current CPA communities.
Since its inception, the Community Preservation Act has raised close to $1.4 billion and supported 7,500 projects. It has protected 21,800 acres of open space, preserved 3,600 historic sites and resources, funded 1,250 recreation projects, and developed 8,500 housing units.
For more information, go to the Community Preservation Coalition’s website at www.communitypreservation.org.