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FY16 CPA Funding Cycle Open

Application materials are now available for the FY16 CPA funding cycle. If you have a community preservation project that may be eligible for CPA funds, please see here for details.

Historic Preservation Plan underway; community meetings in July & August

Preview image links to a download of this document

We are pleased to announce that over the course of Summer 2015 the City will develop its first-ever Historic Preservation Plan to guide public and private investment in historic resources throughout Somerville!

Around the country, Historic Preservation Plans represent the best practice in local government by identifying communities' historic resources, evaluating their integrity, and providing public policy recommendations for protecting them.

Thanks to the passage of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in 2012, which created a new funding source for investing in the City's historic resources (as well as open spaces and affordable housing), the time is now ripe to create a plan for Somerville.

To ensure a fun and inclusive public dialogue, this new Historic Preservation Plan will be prepared using the City's “SomervillebyDesign” methodology. All interested parties are welcomed to attend one or all of the following meetings to share your thoughts about Somerville's historic resources:

  • Monday, July 20th: Visioning session @ East Somerville Community School cafeteria (50 Cross St.)
  • Tuesday, July 28th: Visioning session @ West Somerville Neighborhood School cafeteria (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • Thursday, Aug. 20th: Plan open house @ Center for the Arts at the Armory mezzanine (191 Highland Ave.)

With the passage of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in November 2012, the City of Somerville joined 154 other communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that have a steady funding source dedicated to preserving and improving their character and quality of life. Over three quarters of the voters of Somerville voted for the act, which provides the City with a new revenue stream to invest in affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and outdoor recreation. This achievement represents an exciting opportunity to continue making Somerville a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family.



Click to enlarge.


With the passage of the act, the City created a Community Preservation Fund (CPF), the resources of which will be devoted solely to affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and outdoor recreation projects. Funding for the CPF comes from three sources:

1. A 1.5% surcharge on net property taxes. The first $100,000 of assessed value is exempt, and qualifying low- and moderate-income households may also apply for exemption (see Surcharge Information for more information).

2. Municipal revenue. Because Somerville adopted a “blended CPA,” the City may choose – though it is not required – to dedicate additional municipal revenue to the CPF. The maximum amount the City can contribute in any year is roughly equivalent to the revenue raised by the 1.5% surcharge.

3. Distributions from the Commonwealth’s Community Preservation Trust Fund. Distributions match total local funding on an annual basis, including surcharge revenue and dedicated municipal revenue. In recent years, the match from the Trust Fund has been roughly 25%. Communities with local funding equivalent to the maximum 3% surcharge are eligible for an increased match rate.


Projects are eligible to receive CPA funding if they fall into the allowable uses outlined in the chart below (see here for a more detailed version of this chart). For examples of projects that have been funded by the CPA, see the Community Preservation Coalition.

Please visit Applying for CPA Funding if you are interested in receiving funding for a community preservation project.