Boston has an additional $20 million this year to fund affordable housing, parks, open space and historic preservation thanks to the Community Preservation Act. On April 3rd, the Jamaica Plain community is invited to a public forum to share their ideas on how to spend that money.
The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) organized and will lead the forum with a host of elected officials sponsoring the event and local organizations as co-sponsors.
Boston adopted the Community Preservation Act (CPA) by voting in support of it in November 2016. More than 170 Massachusetts municipalities have adopted the CPA, according to the Community Preservation Coalition.
"JPNDC has been a strong advocate for the CPA for more than 10 years," said JPNDC's Director of Community Organizing Giovanny Valencia, via email to Jamaica Plain News. Valencia said the JPNDC campaigned for Boston to approve the CPA in 2016, and included it as a main topic of discussion in their State of Our Neighborhood event in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The forum will include an introduction of the CPA by Valencia, followed by four panels led by elected officials (District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, state Reps Jeffrey Sanchez and Liz Malia, and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz; JPNDCs Leslie Reid, who will lead a discussion about affordable housing; Franklin Park Coalition's Samantha Wechsler, who will lead a discussion about parks and open space; and Gretchen Grozier of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, who will lead a discussion about historic preservation.
By adopting the CPA, a 1% property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills began in July 2017, which funds Boston's Community Preservation Fund. The city created the Community Preservation Committee to determine how funds will be used. Jamaica Plain's Christine Poff, who led the Franklin Park Coalition and started the Boston Park Advocates, is the director of Boston's Community Preservation Committee.
Poff will provide a presentation about the CPA and there will be breakout groups for attendees to provide their ideas for how funds could help affordable housing, parks and open space, and historic preservation.
"When I think about this city I love, it's the three CPA components that feel most vital going forward: affordable housing -- a basic human right; greenspace that enhances quality of life for everyone; and historic preservation to maintain our neighborhood gems," said Poff when she was selected to lead the committee.
The Community Preservation Act Forum will be on Tuesday, April 3rd at the Anne M. Cole Center (10 Lamartine St. Extension, next to the Jackson Square MBTA station) at 6 pm. A light dinner will be served.