Council to Consider CPC Recommendations

The city’s Community Preservation Committee is recommending three applications for grants from the Community Preservation Fund.

At its May 24 meeting, the CPC recommended approval of $40,000 for a Creekside Commons Skate Spot and planning for a larger skate park, $400,000 for senior rental assistance, and $350,000 for a Forsyth Pocket Park.

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) appropriations need to be approved by the City Council. Monday night, the council moved the funding requests to a second reading at the next meeting, at which time it will be able to take an official vote on the funding.

The city, through the Housing and Community Development Department, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Public Works, and the Youth Commission is repurposing the outdoor skating rink in the Creekside Commons Park to be used for skateboarding. The grant will fund the purchase of equipment for the location, and provide resources for design and engineering studies of prospective spaces that could be acquired, leased, or repurposed for a larger skatepark.

The senior rental assistance funding will provide grants of up to $10,000, covering up to 12 months of rent, to low-income seniors with income up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income. The program is designed as a pilot to serve 36 to 40 senior households and allow them to remain in the community. There will be an open application period and recipients will be selected based upon need.

The Forsyth Pocket Park funding will be used to convert an existing, city-owned parcel into a public park that will include a seating area, bike rack, shade trees, and green infrastructure. The triangular parcel is located uphill from Carter Heights Apartments where Forsyth Street becomes Sturgis Street and extends to Lafayette Avenue.

In the 2016 general election, Chelsea voters voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act and impose a 1.5 percent surcharge on residential and commercial properties with exemptions for low- and moderate-income homeowners. 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 CPA currently has approximately $2.57 million in available funds for the 2023 fiscal year, as certified by the Department of Revenue,” according to CPC Chair Juan Vega.

At Monday night’s meeting, Councilor-at-Large Brian Hatleberg said he is excited about the proposed use of the funds, and would like to see the city take a more aggressive approach to using the CPA funds.

“I deeply respect the work that the Community Preservation Committee is doing, and I love seeing it and I’m thrilled to be funding these requests,” he said. “I do have a personal wish I want to make public so maybe it can be discussed with the boards, and I hope to bring my colleagues into conversation once we have a new city manager later this year. As I look at the numbers here, we are not expending all of the money that has been generated.”

Hatleberg said he would like to see the CPC, as well as the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, use more of the money it has available for pressing needs within the community.

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