Follows $2.2M in funding for affordable housing; recommendations headed to
Board of Aldermen for approval

SOMERVILLE –More than $1.9 million for historic preservation and green space projects including Prospect Hill Tower and Park, the Community Growing Center, and the Somerville Museum has been recommended by the Somerville Community Preservation Committee, which reviewed 15 applications for funding through the Community Preservation Act (CPA).
The Committee’s recommendations for $1,705,978 in historic preservation projects and $227,463 in green space projects (full list and descriptions below) were submitted on Thursday, March 12 to the Board of Aldermen, which must approve the Committee’s recommendations. If the Board of Aldermen rejects a selected project or reduces the recommended funding level, the Committee can respond and adjust the scope and terms of any proposed project before a final decision is made by the Board.
“The CPA is a tremendous tool that has expanded our ability to meet the community’s goals of preserving our rich history, expanding our green space, and increasing our affordable housing stock, and it allows the community to fund projects that otherwise might not receive the financial support they need,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “I want to thank the Community Preservation Committee and the community for their input and recommendations on how to prudently and wisely spend this funding. These are worthy projects that will strengthen our community and keep us on track to meet our collective goals, and I look forward to the Board of Aldermen’s vote.”
“Our community has played a critical role in helping the Committee make these recommendations,” said Michael A. Capuano, Community Preservation Committee chairman. “We received over 100 pages of written comments on the projects that sought CPA funding, and many members of the public asked questions and advocated for projects at the Committee’s meetings. We’re grateful for the feedback and excited to undertake, with the Board of Aldermen’s approval, the first CPA-funded projects in Somerville’s history.”
These historic preservation and green space project recommendations follow the Committee’s previous recommendation—requested by Mayor Curtatone and approved by the Board of Aldermen in January—to appropriate over $2.2 million in CPA funds to the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the city. CPA funds must be used for affordable housing, historic preservation, open space or outdoor recreation projects.
Applications for CPA funding were first released in August 2014 after the Committee approved its final Community Preservation Plan. After an initial eligibility application, full applications were accepted through November 2014, after which the Committee held two community meetings in January and accepted written comments on the applications for two months. The Committee evaluated the applications and public comments at two meetings in February before voting on March 4 on its recommendations to the Board of Aldermen.
Approximately $4.9 million in CPA funds were available this year for projects, from the 1.5% property tax surcharge, matching funds from the state, and additional appropriation by the Board of Aldermen. If the proposed funding is approved by the Board of Aldermen, $616,711 in CPA funds collected in FY14 and FY15 would remain and be rolled over into FY16—$507,880 for open space and outdoor recreation and $108,831 in flexible funds, per the Community Preservation Plan.
The historic resources projects recommended for funding by the Committee are:
• Prospect Hill Tower, $500,000. For the City’s Capital Projects and Planning Department to stabilize the Prospect Hill Tower by replacing the upper level floor slab, resetting parapet stones, restoring doors and ornamental iron stairs, repointing the facade, and repairing the exterior stairwell.
• Temple B’nai Brith, $450,945. For Temple B’nai Brith to add a fire safety sprinkler system and elevator to the historic 1922 Byzantine Revival building.
• Mystic WaterWorks, $243,000. For the Somerville Housing Authority to rehabilitate and restore the historic windows at the historic Mystic Water Works. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund has granted t$257,000 to the project, which will create a 25-unit affordable housing complex.
• City Hall Renovation, $200,000. For the City’s Capital Projects and Planning Department to engage a design team to restore exterior building elements, upgrade mechanical systems, and upgrade life safety and handicapped accessibility.
• Somerville Museum, $168,191. For the Somerville Historical Society to complete the Somerville Museum’s ADA accessibility project by purchasing a wheelchair lift and to undertake major environmental improvements to preserve the Museum’s collection.
• Milk Row Cemetery, $48,360. For the City’s Planning Division to contract Walker Kluesing Design Group to rehabilitate three historic tombs in Milk Row Cemetery.
• First Congregational Church of Somerville, $44,982. For the First Congregational Church of Somerville UCC to preserve the stained glass window at its historic building.
• City of Somerville Archives, $43,000. For the City’s Archivist to hire a contractor to process a portion of the City’s permanent collections and create a record guide to make the collections accessible worldwide. The collections to be processed include the Board of Health Records, 1886-1960; Civil Defense Records, 1940s; Somerville Redevelopment Authority Records, 1960-1973, and Law Department Closed Case Files 1950s-1970s.
• American Tube Works Complex, $7,500. For the City’s Planning Division to contract a historic preservation consultant to prepare a National Register Nomination for the American Tube Works Complex. Designation would make the complex eligible for historic tax credits which will incentivize rehabilitation.
The green space projects recommended for funding by the Committee—which include all green space projects that applied for CPA funding—are:
• Prospect Hill Park, $85,000. For the City’s Transportation and Infrastructure Division to contract design services to rehabilitate Prospect Hill Park and provide opportunities for historic interpretation and passive recreation.
• Community Growing Center, $52,090. For the Friends of the Community Growing Center to complete in-process upgrade planning, using regenerative systems design approach; complete construction documents; and carry out related experiential/educational events and activities to engage community in process.
• School Garden Classrooms, $45,373. For Groundwork Somerville to rehabilitate and improve eight schoolyard garden classrooms at Arthur D. Healey School, Benjamin G. Brown School, Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School, East Somerville Community School, John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Next Wave and Full Circle Alternative Schools, West Somerville Neighborhood School, and Winter Hill Community Innovation School.
• Healey School to Mystic, $45,000. For the Friends of the Healey to research, design, and plan a multi-phased master plan to create a new green neighborhood to include the triangle of the Healey School, the Mystic Learning Center, and Blessing of the Bay Boathouse.
For affordable housing to date, the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust has voted in support of and/or to appropriate CPA funds for:
• Redevelopment of 163 Glen St., $400,000. For the Somerville Community Corporation to redevelop the former American Legion Post building into eight affordable units for low- and middle-income households and three market-rate homes.
• Mystic WaterWorks, $257,000. For the Somerville Housing Authority to redevelop the historic Mystic Pumping Station building into 25 affordable units for elderly or disabled families. The Community Preservation Committee granted the remaining portion of the request ($243,000) for the project.
• Prevention and Stabilization Services (PASS) Program, $89,250. For the Somerville Homeless Coalition to expand the PASS program, which provides rental assistance for up to two years, housing move-in assistance, supportive case management, and follow-up stabilization services to Somerville residents at risk of falling into homelessness, to approximately seven additional households.
• Better Homes/Leasing Differential Program, $35,820. For the Somerville Homeless Coalition to provide rental assistance to 17 disabled and formerly homeless households in Somerville.
• 100 Homes. For the Somerville Community Corporation to acquire and create new affordable housing units (where affordability does not currently exist) that otherwise would be lost to the private market. The Trust voted in support of the program and bonding to maximize the program’s impact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.