Community Preservation Act

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Feedback Sought on Somerville CPC FY20 Applicants

Seven residents have applied to fill the "general public" seat, which carries a three-year term.

The Community Preservation Committee is made up of Somerville residents who set the priorities for approximately $2 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds each year and recommend which projects should be funded to the City Council. A general public seat is opening on January 1, 2020 and Somerville residents are invited to share feedback on the applicants' qualifications, which can be found at Email feedback to the CPA Manager Judith Tumusiime at [email protected] by Tuesday, November 12 at 4:30pm.

The successful candidate will have a three-year term running from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2022, and will have the option to renew for a second three-year term. State law designates that committee members shall be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City of Council. To engage the community in selecting the most qualified applicant Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has formed a review committee of community members and residents with expertise in related areas to review applicants, conduct interviews, and consider public feedback on candidates. The review committee considers both professional and lived experience and seeks to nominate a candidate that has experience in the construction and real estate industry and contributes to the diversity of background and perspectives of the Community Preservation Committee. From the group of applicants, the review committee will nominate a candidate for appointment for the Mayor to review, and the Mayor will submit the finalist candidate to the City Council for approval.

Thanks to all applicants for their interest and dedication to Somerville. Below are summaries of the applicants describing why they are qualified candidates for the CPC.

Ellie Botshon

"Thank you for the opportunity to apply to the City’s CPC position. Last year I received a Community Preservation Act grant for a feasibility study of a dog park in West Somerville; this sparked my interest in working with the Community Preservation Committee on open space issues as well as other community matters. My career in microfinance and real estate, coupled with extensive volunteering with local non-profits such as Livable Streets, enables me to productively contribute to affordable housing projects as well as residential real estate issues. A sustained investment in open space and affordable housing, informed by my MBA and a Certificate in Urban Planning, well qualifies me to help determine how best to allocate resources in order to make a significant social impact in the community. I would greatly welcome the opportunity to help create positive social change in the city I love and call my home."

Gerald Roy

"I have a passion for the three focus areas of the CPC having grown up in two of Boston’s low-income housing projects and worked extensively to write and manage successful grants and projects in the three CPC focus areas: Low income weatherization; façade restoration in historic, downtown Augusta, Maine; elderly housing, low-income housing rehab and SRO’s; New Neighbors first time home buyers program; Safe Routes To Schools and environmental rehab for Togus Pond in Maine. I have an MBA and the financial/marketing skills and creativity that would be an asset to the CPC and the fulfillment of its goals."

Heather D. Heimarck

"I would be honored to serve on Somerville’s CPA Committee. I am a long term Somerville citizen and parent who is committed to a vibrant, diverse, and livable city. I bring to the position almost thirty years of landscape architectural practice including the creation of parks, affordable housing, and the preservation of historic cultural landscapes. As a businesswoman, sole proprietor of HighMark Land Design, my strengths include inclusive community design, sustainable landscape design, project implementation, cost estimation, knowledge of construction materials and best practices. I have had the honor of serving the city in the past as a member of the Design Review Board for the Assembly Square Preliminary Design Guidelines. I believe in and advocate for the transformative power of CPA funds to provide valuable support for much needed recreational/open space, affordable housing, and the preservation of our treasured history. I appreciate your support for my application."

Cheryl M Hacker

"I’m excited for the opportunity to give back to my community. As an architect, project manager, and community volunteer, I am qualified for the open position on the Community Preservation Committee. In my professional career, I have led internal design and community based teams to create historic and affordable housing throughout Massachusetts and outdoor-oriented huts throughout the North East. Currently I work with a diverse group of stakeholders in a college setting to renovate university dormitories and am pursuing a master’s degree in sustainability with a focus on community development. Additionally, I volunteer with the Appalachian Mountain Club to teach people how to enjoy and protect the outdoors and have spent numerous years mentoring Somerville youth. I could have never imagined the changes that occurred in the past 11 years since I moved here and am looking forward to helping positively shape Somerville in the years to come."

ChenKai (Kevin) Su

"Although I do not have any previous specific experience in preservation, nor I am a historical expert, but I am a “question person”, perhaps a devil’s advocate. I firmly believe there are always more than one side of any situation and all sides must be heard and considered before any final decisions are made. My current expertise is a Certified GREEN Energy and Sustainability Realtor. As a Realtor I am an advocate of fair housing, historic architectures, green/recreational space as well as using new modern technologies. I hope to resonate all the above of my personality and experience while serving on the CPC.

Rona Fischman

"I am a long-term resident and homeowner in Somerville. I have specialized training in adaptive design and a long history of advocacy for disabled and disenfranchise residents in Somerville. I have 27 years’ experience finding properties for people in Somerville which gave me deep knowledge of the local housing stock. I am a professional writer, having written about real estate for for five years. I am a known to the City Council because I have been a Fair Housing Commissioner for over five years. In that time, Fair Housing has become increasing linked to the affordability crisis in the city. I am a life-long student of local history. I frequently walk in the city. I notice the differences in buildings constructed at different times, then adapted over the years. As a hobby, I study urban ecology in regard to trees and animals in town."

Shirley V. Cardona

"My business skills, record of accomplishments in matters of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as my life experience equip me to bring a unique perspective to discussions of community preservation.  My mother, a Colombian immigrant, worked several low-wage jobs to provide for the two of us. The stress of living paycheck to paycheck marked my childhood experience and impressed in me the role of affordable housing in creating and sustaining diverse communities. Harvard’s generous financial aid program dramatically changed my life trajectory and sparked in me a desire to serve as a cultural bridge-builder across ethnic and socioeconomic groups. My professional experience is in sales and marketing. Outside of work, I serve on boards in which I champion issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. I am proud to live in a city that shares my understanding of the ways in which diversity fuels economic growth."

  • About the CPA

  • CPA Projects

  • Apply for CPA Funding

  • CPA Results

  • Community Preservation Committee

Final Report Released for West Somerville Dog Park Feasibility Study

The first CPA feasibility study is now complete! The Civic Space Collaborative completed their final report on the feasibility of creating a new dog park in West Somerville. You can read the final report here. Thanks to everyone who came to the public meeting and participated in the online survey.
Have an idea for another feasibility study? Applications are due May 15. 

Work underway to make Dilboy Auxiliary Fields more useable 

The City of Somerville will complete a utility redesign of the Dilboy Auxiliary Fields (natural grass) that will include drainage, irrigation, and sports lighting to increase the useable hours of the site. The work is underway and began with a survey of the field. The consultants, Warner Larson, are expected to complete the work in February 2019 and construction is expected to begin in the fall. For more information, read the project's CPA application here or contact Luisa Oliveira at [email protected].

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a Massachusetts state law that enables municipalities to create a steady funding source for affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and recreation land projects. Somerville adopted the CPA in 2012 with the support of over three-quarters of Somerville voters. Community organizations, City departments, and individuals can apply for CPA funding for eligible projects through the annual process managed by the Community Preservation Committee for historic resources and open space/recreation land applications. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund manages the annual process for affordable housing applications.

To date, $23.8 million has been awarded in CPA funds to 66 projects across the City. This includes:

  • Creating 81 new units of affordable housing through projects like the Somerville Housing Authority's Mystic Water Works project, which is both preserving a historic building and creating 25 new units of affordable housing, and Somerville Community Corporation's 100 Homes project, which takes homes off of the speculative market and makes them affordable in perpetuity.
  • Stabilizing Prospect Hill Tower, so it can be open again to the public, and providing funding to preserve nine historic buildings, including adding elevators to the Somerville Museum and Temple B'nai Brith so they will be accessible to all.
  • Providing funding to create new designs for eleven open spaces, including the Prospect Hill Park, the Somerville Community Path, and four schoolyards.
  • Funding the construction of the new Hoyt-Sullivan Playground, Winter Hill Schoolyard, and Prospect Hill Park.
  • Acquiring the 5 Palmer parcel, which will add 0.04 new acres of recreational land to the Capuano Schoolyard/Glen Park, and 35 Richardson, which will create a new 0.13 acre park.

The funding for CPA 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 an exemption. See Surcharge Information for details.
  2. Municipal revenue. Because Somerville adopted a "blended CPA," the City may choose - though it is not required - to dedicate additional municipal revenue to CPA. 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 local funding on an annual basis, including surcharge revenue and dedicated municipal revenue. Since FY15, Somerville has received over $2.96 million from the state match. Communities with local funding equivalent to the maximum 3% surcharge are eligible for an increased match rate.


To date, $24,217,690 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, including over $2.96 million in state match funds, have been awarded to 71 projects across all of Somerville's seven wards. Learn about these projects below.

2020 Projects

Click here to read about the FY20 CPA Projects.

Applications are currently being considered for FY20 funding. To date, $421,000 has been awarded in FY20 emergency funding to two projects (1 historic resources, 1 open space/recreation land; 2 community projects)

2019 Projects

Click here to read about the FY19 CPA Projects.

$2,219,049 awarded to 9 projects (4 affordable housing, 5 historic resources, 2 open space/recreation land; 5 community projects, 2 City projects, and 1 joint project; $1 million in funding for ArtFarm pending City Council approval)

2018 Projects

Click here to read about the FY18 CPA Projects.

$9,602,409 awarded to 14 projects (5 affordable housing, 2 historic resources, 7 open space/recreation land; 9 community projects and 5 City projects)

2017 Projects

Click here to read about the FY17 CPA Projects.

$2,243,122 awarded to 15 projects (3 affordable housing, 4 historic resources, 8 open space/recreation land; 5 community projects, 5 City projects, and 1 joint community/City projects)

2016 Projects

Click here to read about the FY16 CPA Projects.

$5,651,423 awarded to 13 projects (4 affordable housing, 5 historic resources, 4 open space/recreation land; 6 community projects, 5 City projects, and 2 joint community/City projects)

2015 Projects

Click here to read about the FY15 CPA Projects.

$4,086,987 awarded to 15 projects (4 affordable housing, 7 historic resources, 4 open space/recreation land; 10 community projects and 5 City projects)

Want to see more of what we're up to? Visit the Somerville CPA Flickr site for more project photos.


FY20 Community Preservation Act Affordable Housing and Tenancy Stabilization Program Funding Applications

October 23, 2019

Between October 23 and December 9, 2019 the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund will accept proposals for funding of eligible affordable housing projects or programs in Somerville. A total of $848,241 in fiscal year 2020 Community Preservation Act funds have been designated by the Community Preservation Committee for allocation by the Trust to benefit residents of Somerville. These funds are available through two competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) processes to provide funding for the following eligible uses:

  • One RFP is for the creation, acquisition or preservation of affordable rental or home-ownership units in Somerville by developers of affordable housing. (Download RFP)
  • One RFPs is for the support of affordable housing in Somerville with funding for programs that provide housing assistance to households and individuals that reside here. (Download RFP)

The submission deadline for proposals is Monday, December 9, 2019 at 3 p.m. The RFP documents are available for download above starting October 23rd. More information about eligible uses and funding priorities is available in pages 1-2 of each of the RFPs.
Questions about these RFPs can be directed to Heidi Burbidge, Housing Programs Coordinator, City of Somerville, (617) 625-6600 x2587 or by email at [email protected].


¿Quiere aprender sobre el proceso de aplicación en el español? Mira una entrevista sobre el programa aquí.

Want to incorporate arts and/or cultural components in your CPA project? Consider applying for a Local Cultural Council Grant from the Somerville Arts Council. Applications are due in October each year. Learn more here.

On this page you will find:

  • CPA eligibility guidelines
  • CPA application process
  • Community Preservation Plans
  • Resources for applicants

The first step in the Community Preservation Act (CPA) application process is to determine if your project is eligible for CPA funding. This chart provides an overview of what types of projects CPA funds can support:

Thumbnail preview of the linked PDF of allowable uses of CPA funding


For more detailed information, visit the Community Preservation Coalition and talk with the CPA Manager.

The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) accepts applications for CPA funding on an annual basis for historic resources, open space, and recreation land projects. The schedule for FY20 will be as follows: 


Community Preservation Plan hearing and plan development

Pre-application workshop- March 27 at 6:00pm
Community Preservation Plan hearing- March 27 at 7:00pm
Visiting Nurse Association, 259 Lowell 


Community Preservation Plan and application materials released

May 15 

Pre-applications due by 12:00 noon


June 4, 6:30pm at Central Library

June 5, 1:00pm at Central Library

July 10 Eligibility Determination Forms due by 4:30pm  
September 24 Full applications due by noon

CPC beings evaluation of project proposals

October Community meetings (dates tentative)
  • October 10, 2019 at 7:00pm
  • October 23, 2019 at 7:00pm
November/December CPC finalizes evaluation of project proposals
CPC sends recommendations to City Council
January/February City Council considers funding recommendations  
March onwards Grant agreements signed  

Out of Cycle Funding Requests

For exceptional cases, the CPC will consider emergency requests for funding outside of the regular application cycle. If you think you might be eligible for emergency consideration, please contact the CPA Manager.

Affordable Housing Projects

Applicants with proposals for housing-only projects or programs should contact the Affordable Housing Trust. The CPC has empowered the Trust to serve as the affordable housing arm of the Committee, so the Trust will receive and evaluate applications for CPA-eligible affordable housing projects and programs. Please contact Heidi Burbidge at [email protected] with questions. 

Historic Resources, Open Space, and Recreation Land Application Materials

The application process for historic resources and open space/recreation land funding has three parts: 

  1. Pre-Application: This step is only for community members proposing a project on City land or requesting funds for a feasibility study. The FY20 pre-application form is due May 15. 
  2. Eligibiltiy Determination: The CPC first determines if projects are eligible for CPA funding before inviting applicants to submit full applications. The FY20 eligibilitiy determination forms are due July 10.
  3. The Full Application:

    • Application instructions: this packet contains all of the information you need to submit an application, once the CPC determines your project is eligible for CPA funding.

    • Application forms: this packet contains the fillable forms you need to include with your full application.

Need help understanding the application process? Talk to the CPA Manager and plan to attend an application workshop. You can find the slides from last year's workshop here

Community Preservation Plan

Every CPA program in Massachusetts is as unique as its municipality. Each year the Community Preservation Committee sets the funding priorities and minimum funding allocations for the three CPA categories through the Community Preservation Plan. The CPC seeks to fund projects that are consistent with the community's values and use CPA funds strategically. To learn more about the CPC's priorities, read the annual Community Preservation Plans below. To help inform these priorities, come to our annual Community Preservation Plan hearing, typically held in March. 

The CPA enabling legislation requires a minimum of 10% be allocated to each category every year and gives each CPC the flexibility to increase these minimums to reflect the priorities in their communities. For FY19, the CPC set the following minimum allocations:

  • Affordable Housing = 50%
  • Historic Resources = 15%
  • Open Space and Recreation Land = 20%
  • Flexible/undesignated = 10%
  • Administration = 5% (maximum)

Flexible funds are used to fund CPA eligible projects in the three CPA categories to support requests beyond the minimum allocations and are distributed based on demand and the quality of applications. 

Resources for Applicants

CPA projects are often complex, involving many stakeholders and requiring necessary permits and approvals. The CPA Manager is an important resource to help applicants navigate the CPA process. 11 Things to Consider when Developing a Project for CPA Funding can help you walk through the questions you will need to answer as you develop your project idea. We also hope the information below helpful as you develop your application. 

If you are looking to get ideas for projects and are curious what others have done, you can visit the Community Preservation Coalition website to learn about CPA projects across Massachusetts and visit the Somerville CPA Projects tab to learn more about projects close to home.

Is this the first time you are writing an application for grant funding? This GuideStar blog has some helpful resources and advice for beginners. 

CPA Requirements

Projects on City Land

The CPC receives many requests from community groups for funding for projects on City land. To ensure these projects have the support of the City and are in alignment with City needs and priorities, the CPC requires that property owners be a co-applicant from the eligibility determination form phase for all projects on public lands. If you have an idea for a project on City land, read this guide to get more information about the process. 

Be sure to note that state procurement laws apply to all CPA projects on public land. It's important to factor this in when developing your project, as it may affect your budget and timeline. To read our guide for applying for CPA funds for a project on public land, click here. To watch the video from a workshop on the topic, click here

Preservation Restrictions

The Somerville CPC requires all historic resources projects accept a perpetual historic preservation restriction on the exterior of the building in order to receive funds. The CPA legislation requires that all property acquired with CPA funds be perpetually preserved for the use for which it was acquired, such as putting a conservation restriction on open space acquired with CPA funds. To learn more about preservation restrictions for CPA projects, click here.

Campaign Contribution Disclosure

Per the City of Somerville's Campaign Contribution Ordinance (Section 15-71 to 15-76), all CPA applicants requesting $50,000 or more must disclose their and financial contributions of the members of their leadership to candidates running for office in the City of Somerville. If an individual has contributed $500 or more to any individual candidate or incumbent in either the calendar year of the application or the calendar year preceding the application, they cannot receive a CPA grant.

Permits and Approvals

All CPA funded projects must apply for the necessary permits and approvals, which will vary depending on the scope of your project. You can learn more about what permits may be required for your project on the City's CitizenServe portal or by talking with someone in the Building Division of the Inspectional Services Department.

Don't forget that CPA funds can be used to help make your site accessible to all and your project may trigger requirements to make your site accessible if it isn't already. You can learn more about Massachusetts' architectural access regulations here.

Leveraging Funding

The CPC does not require a match to receive funding; however, the CPC does prioritize projects that leverage funding from multiple sources. And CPA funds can be used as matching funds for other grants! Not sure where you can find additional funding?

  • Sign up for the City of Boston's Funding Update, a weekly email with announcements from local, state, federal, and private funding sources.
  • If you have a historic preservation project, the Massachusetts Historic Preservation Commission awards grants annually through their Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund and you may be eligible for a Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund grant.
  • If your project could be considered 'placemaking,' you could be eligible for a MassDevelopment Commonwealth Places grant.
  • If you have an open space/recreation land project, a group of Tufts University Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning students developed this list of potential sources of funding (see Chapter 10, starting on page 104).
  • For a fee, you can subscribe to the Foundation Center's Foundation Directory Online which will allow you to search for foundations that fund the type of project you are looking to implement.





To date, $23,802,990 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, including over $2.96 million in state match funds, have been awarded to 66 projects across all seven wards:

  • 16 affordable housing projects ($7,519745- 41% of CPA funding to date, plus a $6 million bond for the 100 Homes project)
  • 22 historic resources projects ($3,750,826- 28% of CPA funding to date, plus a $2.5 million bond for West Branch Library)
  • 28 open space and recreation land projects ($4,032,419- 31% of CPA funding to date)

As a result of these projects:

  • 81 units of affordable housing are being created
  • 10 historic buildings and 3 historic collections are being preserved
  • 5 historic buildings and one collection are becoming ADA accessible
  • 6 open spaces are being improved and 8 schoolyard garden classrooms were improved

These projects have been implemented by 12 different community organizations (35 projects) and 9 different City departments (22 projects). Six projects are jointly implemented by City departments and community organizations.

Starting in FY17, the Community Preservation Committee began developing a monitoring and evaluation plan to accompany their annual Community Preservation Plan. The purpose of the monitoring and evaluation plan is to help the CPC track the difference CPA is making in Somerville and the trends in housing, historic preservation, and open space in our community. You can find the annual Community Preservation Plans, including the monitoring and evaluation plan, under the Apply for CPA Funding tab.

To learn more about the individual CPA projects, visit the CPA Projects tab.

Funding Statistics

In FY15, 63% of proposed projects received funding:

  • 63% of community projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (13/20)
  • 80% of City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (8/10)
  • 100% of community and City projects that submitted full applications were funded

In FY16, 50% of proposed projects received funding:

  • 50% of community projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (8/16)
  • 75% of City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (6/8)
  • 75% of joint community/City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms received funding (3/4)
  • 100% of community and City projects that submitted full applications were funded; 75% of joint applications funded

In FY17, 68% of proposed projects received funding:

  • 62% of community projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (8/13). Clarendon Hill application review is still pending.
  • 75% of City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (6/8)
  • 100% of joint community/City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms received funding (1/1)
  • 73% of community projects that submitted full applications were funded; 86% of City applications funded; 100% of joint applications funded

In FY18, 52% of proposed projects received funding:

  • 50% of community projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (5/10)
  • 50% of City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (5/10)
  • 100% of joint community/City projects that submitted eligibility determination forms were funded (1/1)
  • 83% of community projects that submitted full applications were funded; 71% of City applications funded; 100% of joint applications funded

Most projects funded were either withdrawn or determined to be ineligible for CPA funding:

  • FY15- 9 of 30 projects did not submit a full proposal, all other projects were offered funding
  • FY16- 10 of 28 projects did not submit a full proposal; 1 project was not funded and 1 offered lower funding
  • FY17- 3 of 20 projects did not submit a full proposal; 1 project determined ineligible; 3 put on hold by applicant and 1 project received a lower funding amount than requested
  • FY18- 7 of 21 projects did not submit a full proposal; 3 projects did not receive funding; 5 projects received a lower funding amount than requested

Interested in going more in-depth about what's happening in the CPA program? You can read our annual and mid-year reports here:

You can learn more about the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund on their website. The reports they have submitted to the Community Preservation Committee are below:

Still want to learn more about the CPA program? Read the results from our annual CPA surveys of applicants and project implementers:

Somerville CPA in the News

About the Community Preservation Committee

Committee Members

  • Michael Fager, Chair - Conservation Commission Representative
  • Uma Murugan, Vice Chair - General Public Representative
  • Amelia Aboff - Planning Board Representative
  • Dick Bauer - Historic Preservation Commission Representative
  • Laura Beretsky- General Public Representative
  • Jane Carbone - General Public Representative (appointment pending confirmation)
  • Luisa Oliveira - Parks and Open Space Department Representative
  • Eleanor Rances - Housing Authority Representative
  • Tatiana Shannon - General Public Representative

The key duties of the Somerville Community Preservation Committee (CPC) are to:

  • Develop and maintain a community preservation plan, which establishes the Committee's priorities for recommending projects to the Board of Aldermen to receive Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding. The Committee's FY19 Community Preservation Plan is available here. The Committee will update this plan annually and will hold at least one public hearing to gather public comment on it in the process.
  • Prepare an annual budget for the Board of Aldermen, which establishes how the Committee intends to allocate annual CPA revenue. 
  • Make project recommendations to the Board of Aldermen. The Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Aldermen regarding the allocation of CPA funding following a competitive application process. The Board can approve, reject, or reduce the Committee's funding proposals.

The ordinance governing the CPC is available here.  

Joining the CPC

Four members of the Community Preservation Committee are selected from the general public. Because the terms were initially staggered, we will be looking for new members each year from 2017 to 2020. Interested in learning more about what it's like to be on the CPC? You can watch the video from the 2018 information session for prospective CPC applicants here. All CPC members can serve for up to two consecutive terms of three years each. There is a competitive application process for the general public seat. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee with community and City representatives. If you are interested in applying, be on the lookout for calls for applications in the fall. 

The other five members of the CPC are appointed, as required by the CPA enabling legislation, from the:

  • Conservation Commission
  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Parks and Open Space Department
  • Planning Board
  • Somerville Housing Authority