Leveraging CPA Funds

March 2008: Many CPCs encourage project applicants to leverage CPA funds with other funding sources, in order to expand the money available for community preservation. These efforts have paid off. The effectiveness of the CPA is multiplied through matches from state and federal grant programs, other local funds, non-profit assistance, and private fundraising. 

This article shows how three CPA communities (Belchertown, Plymouth and Randolph) have been successful at leveraging non-CPA funding sources. We also highlight some potential sources of other funds and information on how to apply. 

Belchertown’s 2007 CPA Projects
The Town of Belchertown is located in Hampshire County just south of the Quabbin Reservoir.  The Town approved its first CPA-funded projects in May 2007, appropriating roughly $330K of CPA funds for 13 projects with total combined project costs of $1.02M. This translates to only 33% of total project costs funded by CPA. CPC Chair Ken Elstein points out, that by counting the state match as leveraged funds, for every $1 raised through the local tax surcharge, $6 were leveraged.  

These projects, which were primarily historic preservation and recreation projects, supplemented CPA funds with various grants and private contributions. The project that achieved the highest leveraging was the acquisition of the 60-acre Scarborough Brook Recreation Area, in which CPA was used to fund only 5% of the total project costs of $547K. Other funding for this project included the state’s LAND Program and private contributions.

See also: The Belchertown CPC’s website for information on individual projects, and a description of Belchertown CPC’s recommendations to Town Meeting.

Plymouth’s Center Hill Preserve
Plymouth’s $5.7M acquisition of the Center Hill Preserve, a 78-acre preserve on Cape Cod Bay, was successful in large part due to the availability of initial funding from the CPA. The CPA funds were used to secure the deal and to obtain state and federal funds to reimburse the original CPA commitments. The Plymouth CPC took the lead to accomplish this acquisition. Working closely with the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts and the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the CPC secured $850,000 from DCR and $2.25M from the highly competitive federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Out of 100 applications competing for CELCP funds, Plymouth’s Center Hill Preserve acquisition was ranked the #2 priority in the country! 

What lead to Plymouth’s success in this ambitious project? The Town had previously identified priority parcels for open space protection.  In addition to knowing its priorities, the CPC took the initiative to partner with the land trust and the state early in the process, and won project support from the congressional delegation. As CPC Chair William Keohan explains, you can’t do it alone – you need to rely on other sources in the region and have a proactive stance. 

See also: The press release for the Center Hill Preserve project and the site plan for Center Hill Preserve.

Randolph’s Crawford Square Historic Revitalization Project
Randolph, located just south of Boston, used $16,000 in CPA funds as the seed money to secure a $1.36M grant from the state’s Public Works Economic Development program (PWED) to fund a comprehensive historic revitalization of Crawford Square. The project includes restoration of the elm trees that once lined North Main Street and installation of historic light fixtures and other streetscape amenities. Using $16K of CPA funds, the town hired The Cecil Group, a planning and design firm, to develop the PWED concept plan and grant submission packet. “Without the CPA money, Randolph would never have been able to gather the $16K to even apply for the PWED grant” explains Juan Carlos Serna, CPC Chair. “We needed professionals to help put together the applications and we needed the support of our congressional delegation.”