PUBLIC INVITED TO SHAPE PLANS FOR COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT FUNDING

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Feedback at two public hearings in May will help finalize criteria used to determine CPA funding priorities for affordable housing, open space, recreation and historic preservation
SOMERVILLE – Want to help determine
how the City of Somerville should spend at least $1.5 million on affordable housing, open space, outdoor recreation and historic preservation projects? The Somerville Community Preservation Committee will gather public feedback at two public hearings in May that will assist in finalizing the criteria the Committee uses to determine which projects are recommended for funding through the Community Preservation Act (CPA).
Residents are invited to learn about the CPA and offer their input to the Committee at the hearings, which will take place on Wednesday, May 7, in the West Somerville Neighborhood School cafeteria, 177 Powder House Boulevard, and Monday, May 12, in the East Somerville Community School cafeteria, 50 Cross St. Those unable to attend either meeting may also submit written comments through May 31 by email to emonea@somervillema.gov or by mail to Emily Monea, SomerStat, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.

At each hearing, the Committee will present its draft priorities for CPA-funded projects, such as preserving expiring-use affordable homes and expanding access to and use of the Mystic River and Alewife Brook corridors. These draft priorities are based on the City’s comprehensive SomerVision plan, Housing Needs Assessment, Open Space and Recreation Plan and other current planning documents, including the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s “Dimensions of Displacement” report.

The Committee will then listen to the public and use the feedback from both hearings to finalize the priorities, which will guide the Committee’s decisions about which projects it will recommend to the Board of Aldermen for funding through the CPA. Once the prioritization plan is finalized, the Committee will begin the application process for receiving CPA funding, which is open to all. Residents will also have the opportunity to provide feedback on eligible project proposals once all applications are submitted.

Somerville voters overwhelming approved adopting the CPA in November 2012, which will raise at least $1.5 million in funding annually via a property tax surcharge and state matching funds for affordable housing, open space, outdoor recreation and historic preservation. In November 2013, an unprecedented open and transparent process yielded four appointees for the public positions on the Community Preservation Committee, submitted by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and approved by the Board of Aldermen.

The Committee members are public members Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, Ezra Glenn, Courtney Koslow and Uma Murugan; and ex officio members Michael A. Capuano of the Planning Board, chairman; Dick Bauer of the Historic Preservation Commission, vice chairman; Tanya Cafarella of the Somerville Housing Authority; Michael Fager of the Conservation Commission; and City Parks and Open Space Director Arn Franzen. Committee members serve three-year terms, but initial appointments to the committee have been staggered.
For more information on the CPA, visit the City’s website at http://www.somervillema.gov/CPA. Please contact Emily Monea at 617-625-6600 x2118 or emonea@somervillema.gov with comments or questions.

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