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January 2008
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Welcome to CPA Update from the Community Preservation Coalition. In this issue, we cover a variety of topics including: eligibility of private projects, the role of grant agreements, saving water resources, and our featured project, the Rice Nature Preserve in Wilbraham.

Also, we are looking for local Community Preservation Committee members who are interested in joining the Coalition's Steering Committee. If you are interested in getting involved with CPA at the statewide level, see the article below for more information. And, as always, feel free to call our technical assistance hotline if you need help with CPA in your community: 617-367-8998.

Can CPA Fund Private Projects?


Have you ever wondered if CPA funds can be used to fund projects on privately-owned property? This question comes up frequently for historic preservation projects, such as restoring an historical society's house museum, preserving windows on an old YMCA building, or restoring an old tavern that's now a private residence. The answer is, it depends!

The Community Preservation Act does not prohibit use of CPA funds for projects on privately-owned property. However, the Anti-aid Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution does prohibit the use of public funds to private entities for private purposes. But that doesn't mean you can't do it!

The Role of Grant Agreements in Funding Private Projects


Many communities create grant agreements to set clear expectations when granting CPA funds for projects on privately-owned property. A grant agreement helps to ensure that the CPA funds are used appropriately and provides clear procedures to remedy problems or unforeseen circumstances.

View a draft Quincy grant agreement form

View a Newton grant agreement form

Coalition Steering Committee Expanding
puzzle people pyramid

The Community Preservation Coalition Steering Committee is expanding to include three additional members representing local Community Preservation Committees. A nomination committee was formed at the January meeting of the Steering Committee, and we are actively looking for members of local CPCs to serve.

CPA Preserves Water Resources

Harvard Bare Hill Pond photo

Several CPA communities have used CPA funds to preserve and restore important water resources that are integral to their unique character. Water-related projects have taken several different forms - from purchasing land for the protection of drinking water sources to eliminating invasive species from key water bodies. Coalition intern Ali Kleyman wrote a short report on how this is done under CPA.

Using CPC Administrative Funds to Hire Staff
person with arrows

Many CPCs are benefiting from the use of CPA administrative funds to employ staff. CPA staff are known by a variety of titles (e.g., CPA administrator, planner, or program manager) and most are part-time. Staff can either be hired as municipal employees or can be private contractors. Communities are using CPA staff either for purely administrative purposes or for administrative and professional planning. Staff can assist with a variety of tasks for the CPC such as preparing meeting minutes, scheduling meetings, processing invoices, evaluating project proposals, creating/updating a Community Preservation Plan, and managing CPA-funded projects. The Coalition has collected a variety of job descriptions for CPA staff positions as models for other communities.

View Falmouth's job description

View Newton's job description

View Boxford's job description

Historic Preservation Event: Free admission for Community Preservation Coalition Communities

historic building line drawing

Community Preservation Coalition Community members can receive complimentary admission (a $10 value) to the exhibit hall at the Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference, March 13-15, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Click here to obtain your coupon. Coalition members can also receive a discounted rate on conference registration which includes four days of seminars, workshops, historic tours and more. Click here for information on discounted registration.

If you are looking for the right products to complete historic preservation projects, this conference may be perfect. You can meet hundreds of exhibitors of historically-accurate products and see interactive demonstrations by master artisans and tradesmen. This event highlights hundreds of exhibitors, and features numerous workshops and tours. The Traditional Building Show is the place that historic restoration and new traditional design and construction come together under one roof.

For more information visit

or call toll free 1- 866-566-7840.

Details on this issue's CPA project photo

Wilbraham RNP article photo

The CPA project featured in this edition is an open space preservation project in the Town of Wilbraham. The photo shows The Rice Nature Preserve, part of a 240-acre open space and agricultural preservation project. The project was funded through a combination of CPA funds, Town Conservation Fund, Massachusetts Self-help Grant, Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, and private fundraising from the Minnechaug Land Trust. The total project cost was $2.51M, of which $903K was CPA funds.

The 150-acre portion of the property that is now the Rice Nature Preserve was subdivided from the larger 240-acre property and purchased by the Town. The remaining 90-acres are still owned by the Rice Family as a productive peach orchard, one of the oldest in Massachusetts. The orchard was protected through the purchase of an agricultural preservation restriction (APR), which provides permanent protection from development while allowing the land to remain in private ownership and to continue to be farmed. This project illustrates how CPA funds can be substantially leveraged with multiple funding sources to protect a large and valuable resource.

View a trail map for the Rice Nature Preserve

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Stuart Saginor
Community Preservation Coalition

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