Mayor applies for $930K in CPA funds for Lot 1
By Richard Conn/Daily News Staff
Daily News Tribune
Posted Oct 30, 2008 @ 12:31 AM
Mayor Jeannette McCarthy has applied for $930,000 of Community Preservation Act cash to purchase almost 6.5 acres on Trapelo Road.
The city's Community Preservation Committee, which is responsible for recommending how the fund should be spent, will visit the site next Wednesday and then convene at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall to take action on the request, William Durkee, the city's preservation act program manager, said yesterday.
Lot 1 is an undeveloped 54-acre parcel of the former Middlesex County Hospital campus, of which 47.5 acres lies in Lexington.
Earlier this year, the House and Senate passed a bill to transfer control of Lexington's portion from the state Division of Capital Management to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, a move that protects it from development.
Before that, the Legislature passed another bill that transferred the parcel in Waltham, which is primarily wetlands, from the Division of Capital Asset Management to the city.
However, Waltham has to pay for its smaller chunk of Lot 1, as the legislation stipulates that the land be sold to the city at fair market value. An appraisal done on the land done this past summer valued Waltham's parcel at $930,000.
That was a figure that didn't please McCarthy, who called the appraisal "bloated" in a letter to the City Council in September. She said at the time she wouldn't recommend using any city bond money to buy the land.
The mayor applied for the preservation act money for the city's Lot 1 parcel under the categories open space and recreation. In her application McCarthy said that purchasing the Lot 1 parcel would "advance" the Western Greenway, 1,000 acres of conversation area, which includes lands in Lexington, Waltham and Belmont.
"The mayor and City Council are trying to preserve the remaining open space in the city," McCarthy wrote.
The mayor couldn't be reached for comment at her office yesterday.
Community Preservation Act money can also be used for historic preservation and community housing. The fund accumulates through property tax surcharges and state matching grants.
On Tuesday night, the committee voted to allocate 10 percent from both the anticipated tax surcharges and state matching funds it will receive in this fiscal year into three categories - community housing, open space and historic preservation.
Durkee said the estimated money from tax surcharges the city's preservation act fund will receive this fiscal year is $1.9 million and that the matching funds from the state will be $1.3 million.
"We must spend 10 percent in each of those three categories," Durkee said.
Another 5 percent each from both the tax surcharges and state matching funds go toward the cost of running the program.
The remaining balances from both the tax surcharges and state matching funds can be used for projects that fit under any of the Community Preservation Act categories, Durkee said.
Durkee said the City Council has to approve the allocation of the funds to each account.
Richard Conn can be contacted at 781-398-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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