Mayor Walsh And Advocates Celebrate $11 million In Grants

  Thirty-five historic preservation projects have been awarded funds generated from the Community Preservation Act (CPA)   Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined advocates and residents at Memorial Hall in Charlestown to celebrate more than $11 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding awarded to 35 historic preservation projects. After Boston adopted the CPA in 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund, which funds affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and public recreation projects.   “In Boston, we are proud to be a city of history. When people around the world read about American history, they read about Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “Preserving history is not shutting it away somewhere, it’s investing in the heart of a community. The three components of the Community Preservation Act —  affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation — connect the past, present, and future of a community. In every one of those projects, we see not only history restored, but communities strengthened.”   The Community Preservation Fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. Mayor Walsh and the City’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC)  most recently recommended 56 projects from all three categories, totaling more than $34 million, for inclusion in the fall funding round for the Community Preservation Act (CPA). The projects were approved by the City Council last month.   “Through investment, policy, and collective will we can maintain the walkable, human-scaled streetscapes that define our neighborhoods, give us a sense of place and identity, and draw millions of visitors, residents, and businesses to our city,” said Alison Frazee, assistant director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “The Community Preservation Act makes this work possible. As the first and only major funding source for historic preservation in the city, we are thrilled to see money going in the door of transformational projects like Memorial Hall.”   “Thanks to Mayor Walsh and the Community Preservation Committee, we will be able to return Memorial Hall to its former glory and continue to serve the veterans of Charlestown and our community,” said Joseph Zuffante, president, Abraham Lincoln Post 11 of the Grand Army of the Republic.   Included in Mayor Walsh’s 2019 legislative agenda is ” An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue (H. 2463/S.1618),” filed by Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Senator Cynthia Stone Creem. The bill would adjust the surcharge on fees for recording deeds to increase the State CPA match, protecting the Act that more than 170 cities and towns depend on for the creation of affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation. When municipalities voted to enact CPA, they did so with the promise of a substantial state match. This year, the match was just 19 percent, meaning that the CPA bill people voted for is no longer the same bill. The Massachusetts House of Representatives’ proposed FY20 budget includes a meaningful increase in the State’s CPA match. Mayor Walsh will continue to advocate for this needed investment throughout the state budget process.     The following is a complete list of historic preservations projects awarded funds from the Community Preservation Fund in its first year:   BACK BAY $430,000 for a new roof and exterior restoration at the Church of the Covenant. $306,700 to restore the doors and entrances of the Emmanuel Church. $200,000 to restore the stairs and fenced-off main entrance of the Arlington Street Church on Boylston Street. $420,000 to stabilize, restore, and weatherproof the First Baptist Church steeple. BEACON HILL $500,000 to preserve The Vilna Shul’s exterior and make the cultural center accessible. BOSTON HARBOR $250,000 to restore the masts and hull of the Roseway Schooner located at Fan Pier. $365,000 to repoint the brick on the Salah Hall building on Thompson Island used for STEM education by thousands of Boston Public Schools students. BRIGHTON $200,000 for a restoration project that will turn the Charles River Speedway buildings into a gathering space with dining facilities, retail shops, an outdoor plaza, and historic features. CHARLESTOWN $500,000 to restore the exterior of Memorial Hall, a 1791 mansion serving veterans and the larger community, and the home of Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War. CHINATOWN $290,000 to repair the exterior and prevent water damage in the Chinatown Immigrant Heritage Center at the old Josiah Quincy School, as well as $71,733 to restore the front entrance, stairs, and accessibility for the building. DORCHESTER $51,200 to complete restoration of the barn, carriage house, and fencing of the Clap & Clapp Houses. $365,000 to renovate the Comfort Station in Uphams Corner for reuse as the Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen. $500,000 to renovate the Pierce Building at Uphams Corner, a cornerstone of the new arts district. DOWNTOWN $350,000 to help with major repairs to HVAC and other systems at the Old State House, one of the oldest and most visited sites on the Freedom Trail. $315,000 to restore 17th and 18th century artifacts from beneath Faneuil Hall showing Boston’s role in the transAtlantic slave trade, works of local artisans, and an emerging global marketplace. EAST BOSTON $575,000 to restore the Nantucket Lightship, Boston’s only floating museum. FENWAY $200,000 to restore the Johnson Gates and Westland Ave entrance paths to the Back Bay Fens HYDE PARK $350,000 to repair the roof and exterior masonry features to stop water damage for the First Congregational Church of Hyde Park, now the Hyde Park Seventh-day Adventist Church. MISSION HILL $850,000 to Sociedad Latina to restore exterior features, bay windows, masonry, and roof for 1912 townhouse serving thousands of Latino youth. ROXBURY $100,000 to restore the public stairs outside the Eliot Congregational Church. $150,000 to restore the gates and grounds of First Church. $49,500 to conserve the Bear Dens 1912 frieze in Franklin Park. $385,000 to restore the doors and vestibule of Roxbury Presbyterian Church. $100,000 to St. Luke’s for emergency stabilization for Ralph Adam Cram structure that will become a small arts venue. $45,000 to Charles St. AME to support a conditions assessment and emergency patching to prevent further water damage from the roof prior to the development of a full restoration plan. $500,000 to the former St. James African Orthodox Church for acquisition and emergency stabilization of the building for reuse as affordable housing and community and artist workspace. $850,000 to Abbotsford, home to the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) or “the Big Head Museum,” to replace the roof and restore masonry to make building weather tight. $850,000 to the Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska Building to restore windows on the first three floors of this historic building, so that the Dimock Center can create a residential recovery program in the space for men dealing with substance use disorder. SOUTH BOSTON $307,000 to restore the gates and fence of St. Augustine’s Cemetery. SOUTH END $46,260 to complete a new roof for the South End House. $136,500 to Haley House to complete fire safety features in the historic townhouse used for a daily soup kitchen, job training program, and volunteer housing. $400,000 to Union United to complete accessibility features for a community food pantry and meeting space. WEST END $43,522 to restore the front stairs, entryway, and facade features of the first Otis House. $400,000 to Old West for tower restoration of 1806 building designed by Asher Benjamin. ###