TOWN MEETING ’20: CPA projects up for a vote

Monday’s Annual Town Meeting warrant includes seven projects that would be funded through Community Preservation Act funds.

If all are approved, more than a half million dollars will be spent to improve the town’s recreational facilities, preserve Abington’s history, and enhance affordable housing opportunities in the community.

Town Meeting starts at 7 pm tonight at the middle/high school auditorium.

The Community Preservation Act allows cities and towns to add a surcharge onto property tax bills. Some matching funds are then provided by the state. The money can only be spent on three categories of projects: open space and recreation, historical preservation, and affordable housing. Abington voters approved a 1.5 percent property tax surcharge, which raises a little more than $400,000 annually.

The Community Preservation Committee, which helps decide which projects will receive funding, are recommending seven appropriations this coming year.

A group interested in replacing the wooden Beaver Brook Playground behind Memorial Field with a more modern installation is requesting $150,000. Kelly Johnson, the committee’s secretary, said that figure wouldn’t cover the full cost of the playground project, which is still in the planning process.

Woodsdale Elementary School parents are requesting $100,000 for a new playground at that school. Currently, students only have a large bank of swings to play on. Parents are also looking to privately fundraise about $50,000 to fully fund the project.

Nearly $13,000 would go to ongoing work at Griffin’s Dairy. Johnson said the next phase of work would include improving the Pattison Street side of the property.

Abington Little League is requesting $40,000 for the first phase of improvements to Dursin Field, which is located off Plymouth Street. The work is expected to include improvements to the dugouts and field fencing.

The Town Clerk’s office is looking for $12,464 to continue a document preservation project.

And the Affordable Housing Committee is requesting that the town create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund using $153,000 that had been placed in a reserve account in recent years.

The state’s Community Preservation Act law states that communities have to spend at least 10 percent of its annual funds on each of the three focus areas. If a community doesn’t have a specific project in one of those areas, if can effectively bank money in a reserve fund until it does have a project.

According to the Community Preservation Committee’s budget, about $151,000 in unallocated funds will be carried over to next year.

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