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How to apply for Community Preservation funds

We use funds to support historic preservation, affordable housing, and parks and open space. Click on your project category to see the application steps and access application materials.

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Step
1

Review affordable housing information

The Department of Neighborhood Development will help determine the best projects for funds. You should plan to respond to Neighborhood Development's request for proposals (RFP) for affordable housing projects. That RFP is released every August. To request funds, affordable housing applicants must:

  • complete the full application, and
  • work with a project manager on the Neighborhood Housing Development team.

Nonprofit and for-profit developers are eligible for affordable housing funds to increase the number of affordable units and deepen affordability in new construction projects.

  • Renovation of existing affordable housing is NOT allowed, unless it is to protect the integrity of the building (for example, the roof, exterior, or fire sprinklers).
  • Preservation of affordability is allowed. Funds support Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program. This program helps responsible developers buy rental housing to remove it from the speculative market and keep tenants in their homes.
Please keep in mind:
  • Affordable housing awards are about $1,000,000. Together with your Neighborhood Development project manager, you will determine what’s needed to bring your project to life.
  • Funded housing projects must serve residents who are under 100 percent of the Area Median Income.
  • Are you a first-time homebuyer? Depending on your income, you may qualify for mortgage or down payment help through Boston’s Home Center.
Step
2

Submit a letter of intent

Before submitting an application, we recommend completing a letter of intent with these details:

  • the name and address of the proposed project
  • the total unit count of the project and the number of affordable units in the proposal
  • whether or not the subject real estate has been occupied by residential or non-residential occupants during the past six months
  • contact information for the applicant
  • the approximate amount of funding you will apply for, and
  • the funding sources that have been identified.

You can email or deliver your letter to:

Christine O’Keefe, Senior Development Officer
Neighborhood Development, 8th Floor
26 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108
christine.okeefe@boston.gov

Step
3

Complete a request for proposal

Applicants must follow all instructions in Neighborhood Development's request for proposal. Your application will be due in late September. You can drop off your application and materials to:

Bid Counter, 10th Floor
Department of Neighborhood Development
26 Court Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Step
1

Learn about parks and open space projects

Community Preservation funds may support public parks and fields, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, community gardens, and much more. With these funds, you can:

  • buy land for permanent open space
  • create a new park or garden
  • renovate existing outdoor spaces
  • add park features
  • build playgrounds
  • repave paths, and
  • plant trees.

Funds can’t be used for artificial turf on athletic fields. Streetscapes are not allowed  only spaces that can be preserved as parkland. Public art also cannot be added to parks through Community Preservation funds.

Step
2

Submit an eligibility form

Please complete our online eligibility form to ensure your project is eligible under the state Community Preservation law. These can be submitted at any time throughout the year. We'd like to start working with you to bring an improvement to your neighborhood!

Eligibility Form

We will be in touch to confirm your eligibility and get you ready for the full application.

Step
3

Using public land? Complete a project interest form

Please complete the project interest form to communicate with the public agency that owns or manages the open space. You'll need this for the:

  • Boston Parks and Recreation Department
  • Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • Boston Public Schools (BPS)
  • Boston Public Library (BPL)
  • Boston Department of Neighborhood Development (DND)
  • Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPRD)
  • Boston Public Works (DPW), BTD or MA DOT (Transportation), and
  • any other federal, state, or City property.

Don’t know if the land is owned or managed by a public agency? Reach out and we'll help you find the owner. 

Please note:

It is critical to have the full support of the property owner. The public agency involved will work with you if the project fits their goals and they have the staff to manage the work. If awarded, funds will go to the public agency who will oversee the project, with community involvement. Funds used on public land must follow City laws and regulations.

Fill out the PROJECT Interest Form

Step
4

Complete your application

Please read the application instructions before you begin.  The application is a Google questionnaire. You will not be able to save and come back to it. 

We recommend viewing the application outline and questions on this Google doc and doing your answers offline. You can then cut and paste your responses into the Google application. The document also lists the uploads needed so you can prepare.

The Budget Form includes options for two tiers. Where possible, the Committee will try to fund your complete project.

  • First Tier: Your highest priority and the most urgent work. This amount should enable you to complete what is most needed.
  • Second Tier:  The full project amount for your open space or historic preservation project, with an upper limit in the $500,000 range.

Remember to download the Budget Form and save it to your hard drive before you begin.

Parks and Open Space Application

budget form

The next application deadline will not be until September 2020. But, we want you to be able to see the full process on this page as you work to develop your project idea.

Step
1

Learn about historic preservation projects

Boston will be 400 years old in 2030! Over the next decade, we hope funds will help restore neighborhood resources and historic features for the City’s anniversary. The Community Preservation Committee prioritizes projects that have:

  • a conditions assessment from a preservationist or architect
  • public access and serve the community
  • exterior or structural needs, and
  • historic significance.

When preparing your final application, it’s helpful to include solid costs from an experienced preservation architect or contractor.

Step
2

Submit an eligibility form

Please complete our online eligibility form to ensure your project is eligible under the state Community Preservation law. 

Eligibility Form

We will be in touch to confirm your eligibility to help you prepare to complete the full application in 2020.

Step
3

Is your project on the MA Register of Historic Places?

By state law, your project must be on the Massachusetts Historic Register, or located in a national, state, or local historic district. You can look up your property on MACRIS, the state database of historic resources. If you have trouble with MACRIS, reach out and we can help.

If your project is not on the Register, we created a process for you to apply to the Boston Landmarks Commission to establish eligibility.  We will be in touch to confirm your eligibility and direct you to the full application.

Apply for historic determination

Step
4

Complete your application

Please read the application instructions before you begin. The application is a Google questionnaire. You will not be able to save and come back to it.

We recommend viewing the application outline and questions on this Google doc and doing your answers offline. You can then cut and paste your responses into the Google application. This document also lists the uploads needed so you can prepare. 

The Budget Form includes options for two tiers. Where possible, the Committee will try to fund your complete project.

  • First Tier: Your highest priority and the most urgent work. This amount should enable you to complete what is most needed.
  • Second Tier: The full project amount for your open space or historic preservation project (with an upper limit in the $500,000 range).

Please download the Budget Form and save it to your hard drive before you begin. 

Historic Preservation Application

budget form

The next application deadline is not until September 2020. But, we want you to be able to read about the application steps on this page as you develop your project.

Have 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!

Read the plan

Check out the first-year priorities for Boston in the 2018-19 Community Preservation Plan.

Community Preservation

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

Learn about Community Preservation

If you are funded

Community Preservation Act Grant Agreement

If you are awarded a grant, you enter into an agreement — like a contract — with the City of Boston. You can preview the Grant Agreement template.

Every project is a little different. The conditions of this agreement may not apply to your project. Together with the City's Law Department we will craft language that reflects your work and anticipated outcome. 

You'll get instructions before signing the Community Preservation Agreement that walk you through the steps involved. When you sign the agreement, we'll give you a  construction sign to post outside your site.

City of Boston Contract Forms

Once you are ready to sign the agreement, there are several forms to complete. Please don't worry about these until you are awarded funds! Our staff will walk you through the details and interpret the forms for you. They include:

Receiving Funds

As noted in the Community Preservation Agreement, you will start by submitting an invoice for the first third of your grant amount. 

For a second installment, you will send documentation that you've spent the first amount. This can be:

  • an invoice from your contractor
  • canceled check, or
  • even a credit card statement showing that payment has gone out.

Again, you submit an invoice for the next payment. This can be for smaller amounts as needed, or for the remainder of the grant minus 10 percent that we hold until the project is complete. Our instructions will guide you through the process.

Community Preservation Reporting

We created short reports you will send at three different stages of your project. Each should be accompanied by a budget report similar to the form you submitted with your application:

In addition, our staff may call or visit to learn about your progress. We'd love to see photos and encourage you to invite us to any events that celebrate the work!

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