Two Community Preservation Requests Approved by City Council

The Chelsea Community Preservation Committee is recommending the City Council approve two grants for grants from the Community Preservation Fund.

At its October meeting, the CPC recommended the approval of $250,000 for roof and water damage repairs to the Governor Bellingham Cary House, and $450,000 for open space acquisition at 88 Clinton Street. Both those projects were approved at Monday night’s special meeting of the City Council, with Council President speaking in favor of both projects.

In 2016, Chelsea voters voted to adopt the provision of the Community Preservation Act and impose a 1.5 percent surcharge on residential and commercial properties.

“The CPA currently has $1.2 million in reserves from prior years and has received approximately $1 million for the 2022 fiscal year,” said Jose Iraheta, Chair of the CPC. “Per the Preservation Plan, 25 percent of the fiscal year funds are allocated to both open space/recreation and historic preservation, while 40 percent is allocated to affordable housing. The remaining 10 percent is utilized as administrative and undesignated funds.”

The Governor Cary Bellingham House project will help address roof issues at the building, which have caused water to enter the building and damage two windows, historic plaster of ceilings and walls, and wooden flooring.

“We are a registered nonprofit organization that has been a part of the community since 1914,” said Bellingham Cary House board member Karen MacInnes. “We have no paid staff and a volunteer board. Members and associate members provide support by membership dues and donations; other than a ticketed fundraising event, visitors to the house are welcomed for free.”

The city is looking for $450,000 in CPA funds to purchase the approximately 27,000 square foot parcel at 88 Clinton St. to use as open space.

“Overlooking Mill Creek, a cherished natural resource, the parcel is situated within a densely developed Environmental Justice neighborhood with a scarcity of parks and playgrounds, especially waterfront open space,” stated Alex Train, the city’s Housing and Community Development Director. “Historic land use patterns, coupled with development activity, have contributed to significant water quality impairments in Mill Creek. Erosion, untreated storm water runoff, and polluted sites continue to degrade the natural salt marsh habitat, while land use patterns inhibit public access to this environmental asset.”

The city, working in collaboration with the Mystic River Watershed Association and GreenRoots, has embarked on key restoration activities and open space planning initiatives, such as the proposed acquisition of 88 Clinton St.

Once the parcel is acquired, Train said the city will enact a conservation restriction to preserve the site as open space in perpetuity. The city will also work with community organizations and neighborhood residents to oversee the design and development of a passive park at the location, interspersed with green infrastructure.

“Upon implementation, the project will offer a serene refuge where members of the public can relax, find respite from extreme heat, and enjoy passive recreation, against the backdrop of an unobstructed view of Mill Creek,” Train stated.

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