The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) voted at the Tuesday 12/19/17 meeting in support of our first funding proposal. Submitted as an off-cycle application by the Office of Community Development, the CPC voted to recommend the expenditure of $300,000 CPA funds, matching a Federal Grant to rehabilitate Harris Park. The funds will enable the replacement and addition of new play equipment, including a nature play area and water play area, as well as a community garden, accessible parking, and other improvements that will provide greater accessibility and recreational opportunities for residents of all ages.
How did we get here?
The Community Preservation Committee gathered community input to identify needs for CPA funding, which is described in the Community Preservation Plan, completed last month. (See the plan: http://preservemedford.org/cpc-plan) The plan includes project priorities for Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation, and Open Space and Recreation, and establishes an application process. The process includes an option for "off-cycle" applications, when high priority projects require funding commitments to be made outside of the normal funding timeline.
As the application period for the first round of funding opened, we received an off-cycle application from Medford's Office of Community Development for Phase I of a proposed rehabilitation of Harris Park. The project clearly aligns with CPA purposes, and the goals and priorities outlined in the Community Preservation Plan. It improves access and increases the range of recreational opportunities available to Medford residents, in particular serving "Environmental Justice Populations" in an area of the city that is less well served by open space and recreation resources. The park improvements will provide Medford's first natural play space, and add the first community gardens and water play area to the eastern side of the city. (A second phase, for which OCD has indicated they will also apply for CPA funds in a later round, would entail rehabilitation of the Harris Park athletic fields, a rain garden, and a space that can accommodate various community uses such as sports fields or a farmer's market.)
The request for off-cycle consideration is due to an anticipated January deadline for the City to accept a federal Land and Water grant for $300,000. The full cost of the project is estimated at $817,000, of which $300,000 is funded through the federal grant, leaving $517,000 for the City to cover. The Community Preservation Committee recommends the commitment of $300,000 CPA funds for this project, providing a 1:1 match for the federal grant. By this recommendation CPA funds are able to support a high priority project that aligns with community-identified priorities, while leaving ample funds available for other projects in the first round of funding. Once recommended by the Committee, the funding must be approved by the City Council to be appropriated for the project.
The CPC advertised and held an open meeting on 12/19 to review the Harris Park application, as well as eligibility determination forms for applications to be submitted in the first round. All information was considered, including comments from the public, along with consideration of the fact that there may be applicants who have not yet submitted eligibility forms, which are due on January 5, 2018. The CPC reviewed eligibility forms that were submitted before the meeting on 12/19, including some for Community Gardens, the Medford Historical Society, the Medford Housing Authority, and the Medford Brooks Estate Land Trust.
The first round of applications is currently open, with preliminary eligibility determination forms due on January 5, and full applications due in March for recommendations to be submitted to City Council in May, 2018. Approximately $1.2 million CPA funds from FY2017 are available to be committed at that round, while a similar amount will be available for a second round of funding to be committed in October of 2018.