Chelsea residents can expect to see a flurry of activity from the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) over the coming year.
Earlier this year, the City Council approved Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for a round of pilot projects recommended by the CPC.
The projects recommended by the CPC included money for the rehabilitation of the city’s Civil War monument, improvements to the Garden Cemetery, a Marlborough Street Community Garden proposed by The Neighborhood Developers (TND), renovation of the Governor Bellingham-Cary House, renovations to the Congregation Agudath Shalom Museum (Walnut Street Synagogue) and for the city to hire an Affordable Housing Trust Fund housing specialist on a one-year contract basis.
Chelsea voters approved the adoption of the CPA in November 2016. It will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation. The CPA trust fund currently has a balance of just over $2.2 million before any money was spent on the recent round of pilot projects.
The projects that could be funded during the initial pilot round were capped at $50,000 each. The total of the seven proposals that came before the CPC is just under $270,000, according to CPC Chair Jose Iraheta.
Although Iraheta said he can’t speak for the other members of the CPC, he said he was excited by the Council’s approval of the pilot program.
“The committee has been entrusted by our fellow Chelsea residents to help preserve our open spaces, historic sites, and housing affordability,” Iraheta said. “The projects that were funded through this pilot honor our fellow community members’ wishes. I cannot wait for our next funding round and see what kind of solutions our community comes up with.”
One of the immediate goals for the CPC is to make sure everyone in Chelsea knows what the CPA is, what the community values are, and how the CPC funds have been used, according to the CPC Chairman.
“The CPC will focus on standardizing the community engagement efforts, capture our community’s voice in the community preservation plan and create a straightforward application process so people can know what to expect,” Iraheta said. “We want to create a system that is responsible for our community’s goals and priorities. If organizations and individuals know what to expect, we hope to see more robust and strong community projects that reflect our community’s values.”
To accomplish this, he said the CPC will be engaged in deep reflective conversation around the pilot process, including inviting CPC members from other communities to learn from their experiences, building on proven practices.
“My expectations are for the next grant applications to receive more solutions that meet the values, goals, and priorities laid out in the Community Preservation Plan,” Iraheta said.
A CPC meeting was scheduled to be held on Thursday night.
During the summer, the CPC will work to finalize engagement and application timelines for CPA projects. The next round of funding will not be limited to the $50,000 cap of the pilot round, Iraheta said, but a final decision has yet to be made on if there will be a larger cap on the requested amount.
Organizations or individuals can get more information on how to apply and on the Community Preservation Plan through the City of Chelsea’s Community Preservation Committee dedicated portal at www.chelseama.gov/community-preservation-committee.
Iraheta said he would like to continue to see proposed projects that meet the core values of the Community Preservation Plan.
“The CPA funds are a tool that strengthens our communities through funding for open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation preserve,” he said. “The CPC does not implement projects; community organizations and individuals do. If your proposal adheres to the values in the Community Preservation Plan, we will consider your application for funding.”