by Ken Aspeslagh
What does it mean to preserve a community? It means a lot.
To preserve is to maintain, but also to retain, and to keep safe. Community preservation means coming together and finding ways to protect and improve what matters most about the city we live in.
Honoring the past while embracing the future
As New Englanders we're very proud of our history and value it deeply. What is necessary to ensure that the special places in our community retain their original value and their original luster?
As our community's needs change, preservation comes to include the expansion or creation of new facilities. A new park here, a new field there, a new trail connecting the two. In our busy lives they often serve only as a backdrop, but our natural places and endangered scenic landscapes lend an awful lot of character to our community. They must be carefully protected for future generations.
Playability, walkability... livability
And finally, in preserving the diverse character of the community, we must strive to maintain affordable and accessible housing. Cycles of growth can lead to rising prices, which is what makes affordable housing initiatives a crucial piece of the preservation picture.
Here are a just few examples from the nearby towns of Newburyport, West Newbury, Groveland, Georgetown, and Rowley. These 5 towns alone have completed more than 300 projects as a result of Community Preservation funding.
When the time came to expand and improve World War Memorial Stadium, Newburyport used CPA to bond $1.5 million. Since CPA funds cannot be used to pay for artificial turf, CPA money was used for the site work, and the turf was funded by other means. Read more
Georgetown used CPA funds to rehabilitate one of their historic school buildings. This was a multi-phase project; a good example of how CPA provides a reliable funding source from year to year for multi-phase projects.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council awarded $140,000 in grant money to make important repairs to this beloved historic structure, but a 1:1 match was required. Newburyport's Community Preservation Committee approved a request for CPA funds, and they are well on the way to beginning repairs. Read more
Newburyport CPA funds helped protect from development 10 acres of land next to Maudslay State Park. CPA money was leveraged with other funding sources to conserve this important land on the banks of the Artichoke River.
West Newbury CPA funds were used to add three new bridges in the 68 acre Riverbend Conservation area. Page School students and the whole community now have better access to the trail network.
CPA funds allowed West Newbury to permanently protect 23 acres of ecologically sensitive land and create a greenway of nearly 100 acres of publicly-accessible nature preserve.
In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Groveland allocated CPA funding to the design and engineering of the future 3.5 mile Groveland Community Trail. This is a great example of how CPA funds can be used for the design phase of a project. In this case, Groveland was able to meet the required 25% design plan before submitting to MassDOT. This is also a great example of how CPA is a reliable source of funding for multi-phase projects.
When historic Bradstreet Farm came on the market, CPA funds came to the rescue, allowing the town of Rowley to make the purchase and saved the beloved farm from development. 103 acres were placed in permanent protection. Read more
Georgetown's Brocklebank historic museum honors Georgetown's past. The historical society requested funding from the Georgetown Community Preservation Committee, and was awarded $52,000 for restoration and rehabilitation.