Learn About How to Apply for Community Preservation Act Funds & Approved Projects

The following information was provided by the City of Watertown:

The CPA Annual Public Hearing will be held in the Council Chamber in City Hall on Thursday, June 15, 2023, at 7 p.m.

Don’t miss the CPA Annual Public Hearing hosted by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) in the City Hall, City Council Chamber.  You may also join remotely via Zoom: https://watertown-ma.zoom.us/j/91525442843. This event is a great opportunity to: 

Hear more about the recently funded CPA Projects;

Tell us your open space, outdoor recreation, community housing, and historic preservation priorities;

Learn how to apply for CPA funding; and

Get answers to your questions about CPA in Watertown. Take our one question survey, What is one thing you would like to know about the Watertown CPA? 

You may send questions or comments in advance to Lanae Handy, Community Preservation Coordinator, at lhandy@watertown-ma.gov. Visit watertown-ma.gov/cpc for more information.

State Giving Watertown Nearly $1 Million for Community Preservation

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

Watertown’s Community Preservation Committee is pleased to announce that the Commonwealth has released $203,645 more to Watertown’s Community Preservation Fund, bringing the total annual state match to $956,905 for our City. These resources are a supplemental distribution from $20 million in state surplus funds for Community Preservation Act (CPA) communities in fiscal year 2022. State matching funds come from fees assessed on certain real estate transactions through the registration of deeds. For the past fiscal year, the state match equaled 38.5 percent of the CPA funds raised locally. Mark Kraczkiewicz, current chair of the CPC, said, “These matching state funds of nearly a million dollars confirm the wisdom of Watertown voters when they adopted the CPC.

Historic Paintings Removed from City Hall to be Restored Using Community Preservation Funds

Charlie BreitroseEmployees from Maquette Fine Arts Services prepare one of the historic paintings in City Hall’s lobby to be removed from the wall for restoration. Stephen Munroe of Maquette, center, speaks with art preservationist Louise Orsini, right. Friday morning a quiet sense of anticipation filled the lobby of Watertown’s City Hall. The marble covered atrium was filled with history lovers and art preservationists waiting to see what secrets are held by a pair of paintings dating back to the early 1930s. The towering paintings have been inset into the walls of Watertown’s Town Hall (since 2021 City Hall) since it opened in 1932.

First Two Community Preservation Projects Approved; Will Rehabilitate Park, Restore Historic Paintings

Designs for the improvements to Irving Park. The project was recommended by Community Preservation Committee for approval from the City Council, which did so on June 21. A park in Watertown will get a face lift and paintings in City Hall that are showing their age will be refurbished in the first two projects in Watertown approved to use money from the Community Preservation Act funds. On Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously approved the two projects recommended by the Community Preservation Committee. Community Preservation Committee Chair Mark Kraczkiewicz thanked the groups that brought forward the projects.

Watertown’s Hidden Wetlands Could be Possible Community Preservation Projects

Walker’s Pond, on the Westside of Watertown, is one of the town’s hidden wetlands and a possible place for the Community Preservation Funds to be spent. With “water” such a prominent part of the name of the town, one might expect it to be flush with wetlands. The Charles River, of course, is Watertown’s most significant body of water, but there are several others that are not as visible. Some can be seen from roadways around town, if you know where to look, others are tucked into the woods, and a number are surrounded by graves. Leo Martin, chair of the Town Conservation Commission recently took Watertown News on a tour of the town’s wetlands.

Community Preservation Committee Wants to Hear from Public

The following information was provided by the Community Preservation Committee:

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) in Watertown raises funds through a 2% percent surcharge on local property taxes and a variable annual distribution from the MA Community Preservation Trust Fund. There are four eligible project funding categories: community housing; open space; outdoor recreation; and historic preservation. It is mandated that 10% of funds generated annually must be designated to each category. Please note funding for open space and recreation is a combined category. Up to 5% may be used for administration and the remaining 65% may be allocated among the project categories.

Community Preservation Committee Looks to Get Process Rolling

The committee chosen to oversee the money raised by the Community Preservation Act in Watertown will be hiring a consultant and a part-time coordinator to educate the public and help figure out how the money will be distributed. Watertown voters approved the CPA in November 2016, and the property tax surcharge brings in about $2 million a year, plus the state will chip in matching funds (19 percent in Fiscal Year 2019). The money can be used on a variety projects, but they must relate to at least one of three areas: affordable housing, open space/recreation or historic preservation. At least 10 percent of the funds must be spent on, or saved in a fund for, each of the three areas. Elodia Thomas, chair of the Community Preservation Committee, said that she hopes that residents will become excited about the possibilities for the Community Preservation Act funds.