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Last updated: 8/29/18

Community Preservation

We use funds to support historic preservation, affordable housing, and parks and open space.

The 2018 fall funding application is now available. The Community Preservation Committee expects to focus on affordable housing projects this fall, but all categories are welcome to apply.

Please follow the steps in the "how to" section below to apply for funding for your affordable housing, historic preservation, or parks and open space project.

Have questions? Contact:

Christine Poff
Read the plan

Check out the first-year priorities for Boston in the 2018 Community Preservation Plan.

How to apply

Step 1

Complete a required eligibility and information form. This will be the part of your application. There are two deadlines:

  • Affordable housing projects: August 25, 2018
  • Historic preservation and open space projects: September 7, 2018

If you missed the deadline, please contact us.

Our staff will reach out to let you know if your project is eligible, and answer any questions you may have. No request is too small. We will accept applications of up to $1 million. If your project needs more, please contact us.

Complete eligibility form

Step 2

Attend an info session to learn how to complete the final application and how the Community Preservation Committee will make decisions.

Step 3

Complete your application. The deadline is Friday, September 28, 2018, at 4 p.m. Please read the instructions before starting your application.

We will not accept incomplete or late applications.

Application info sessions

Our staff will lead application information sessions at 26 Court Street, near City Hall. We will walk you through the application and let you know what's expected. We'll also share priorities for the Community Preservation Committee.

INFO SESSIONS schedule

Please RSVP for one of the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, August 21, from 9 - 11 a.m.
  • Thursday, August 30, from 6 - 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 5, from 4 - 6 p.m.

To RSVP for an info session, please email christine.poff@boston.gov.

Upcoming events

Events
More Community Preservation events

Stay Connected

Sign up for the monthly Community Preservation newsletter.

Application process

getting started

The Community Preservation Committee, formed in January 2018, wanted to get working right away. By announcing a Pilot round of funding, they wanted to show Boston residents the impact Community Preservation funds can have. The committee also tested their newly developed application process.  A diverse collection of 35 projects totaling $8 million received funding. You can view a list of the projects.

Boston will have $20 million every year for affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space! The application for fall 2018 starts with a required eligibility and project information form that is due September 7, 2018. Housing eligibility forms are due August 25.

We don't want you to spend time on the full application if your project does not meet the eligibility requirements as established in the state Community Preservation Act law. If your project is eligible, the full application is due on Friday, September 28, 2018.

Is your project eligible?

Check out our eligibility table. Funds can only support capital projects for affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space. It can't be used for operations, maintenance, or programming.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

You'll find funding priorities outlined in the Community Preservation Plan. Although the Pilot has ended, the guidelines outlined in this first application will help you understand the intention of Community Preservation funds. For the fall round we will accept planning and design applications. An upper limit of what you can apply for has not yet been set.

QUESTIONS?

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you're unsure of your eligibility or have any questions. We encourage a conversation before you apply!

Call 617-635-0277 or send an email

A few things to keep in mind:

The Community Preservation Committee seeks projects where:

  • the applicant has site control of the proposed project parcel or involvement of the site owner
  • community support for the project is demonstrated from elected officials, abutters, user groups, civic associations, and community organizations
  • applicants can demonstrate their capacity to implement their project and have a plan for ongoing maintenance and stewardship, and
  • projects on private space include some public access.

A request for a historic house of worship must be for publicly visible facade work or structural support only that does not include religious imagery.

What is Community Preservation?

Background

The Massachusetts legislature passed the Community Preservation Act in 2000. The law gave individual cities and towns a chance to mount a ballot campaign to add a surcharge on real estate taxes. The money raised supports three program areas for local communities:

  • historic preservation
  • affordable housing, and
  • parks and open space, including outdoor recreation facilities.
State trust fund

A statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund gives cities and towns that passed the act a “match.” Real estate transfer fees from across the state provide money for the Trust Fund. When a property changes hands anywhere in Massachusetts, a $20 fee is rolled into the closing costs.

Boston joins

Many cities and towns passed the Community Preservation Act soon after the law was enacted. They've received millions for affordable housing, preservation, and parks and conservation land. Boston is now among the other 171 communities that have passed the act. We start reaping the benefits in 2018.

City of Boston planning

During Mayor Walsh’s first term, ambitious planning took place. Imagine Boston 2030 and individual plans inform the Community Preservation Plan and guide project decision-making.  Plans include:

Other plans include making Boston more elder-friendly, supporting Veterans, and ending chronic homelessness through the Boston's Way Home program.

How the act will work in Boston

Staffing

The City hired Christine Poff, the program’s director, in the summer of 2017. She’s begun the work of building Boston's Community Preservation Act program. Her team may grow as the project review process gets underway.

Community Preservation Committee

A nine-member committee approves an administrative budget and annual Community Preservation Plan. They review all applications and make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council for funding. By law, five members represent City commissions and boards. The City Council chooses four at-large members from the general public.

All members must be Boston residents for the duration of their three-year term. Members may serve for a maximum of two terms.

Funding Cycles

We hope to announce an application for funds twice annually for small and large projects. At least 10% must be spent in each of the three areas: affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space. Groups who can apply for funding of capital projects include:

  • community organizations
  • housing developers
  • park friends groups
  • historical societies, and
  • City agencies.

Start thinking about how these funds could help your neighborhood! We can connect you with community organizations and resources for help developing a proposal. 

What funds can be used on

All projects must be capital projects involving building or restoration. These funds can’t be used for maintenance or programming. You can view a table of allowable uses for Community Preservation funds.

Transparency

We’ll work to be as transparent as possible in our work. We plan to update this website regularly. Our meetings will be open to the public. We’ll also offer technical support to project applicants, where needed. This is YOUR program, Boston!

Community Preservation Committee

The committee is made up of nine Boston residents. They make decisions about Community Preservation funding priorities. Members meet monthly — or more often — as needed. The committee’s responsibilities include:

VOTING on an annual administrative budget. Five percent of funds may be spent on staff and expenses for the committee and program. Administration funds may also go towards planning, for example:

  • a design for an affordable housing site
  • a survey of a neighborhood’s historic sites, or
  • a park renovation plan.

The City must spend at least 10 percent in each of the three program areas.

DEVELOPING an annual Community Preservation Plan with several possible features, including:

  • needs assessment
  • principles and goals
  • guidelines and requirements for projects, and
  • priority project areas.

REVIEWING projects to recommend to the Mayor and City Council for final approval.

Experts from the City of Boston will help the committee review projects. City staff that will help evaluate applications include:

Committee members

Community Preservation Committee members serve three-year terms, with the possibility of serving a total of two terms. Staggered appointments make sure that all members do not rotate off at once. All members must be residents of Boston for the duration of their term.

at-large members

The City Council selects four at-large members to serve on the committee. More than 115 people applied for seats on the inaugural committee, representing nearly every neighborhood and the diversity of Boston. City law requires: 

  • one from the business community
  • one with expertise in one or more of the three areas, and
  • two with civic engagement experience.
Other members

State law requires that five members be selected from Boston's boards, commissions, and authorities. They represent:

Committee details

Department:
Administration and Finance
Authority:
City
Term:
3 years
Stipend:
$0.00
Total Seats:
9