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Last updated: 11/30/18

Community Preservation

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

We plan to add information about our spring application when it's available. Please review the steps in our guide page to learn about how 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.

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. We'll add dates for the spring application when they're available.

Upcoming events

Events
More Community Preservation events

Stay Connected

Sign up for the monthly Community Preservation newsletter.

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!