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Community Preservation Committee Recommends Approval of All CPA Articles

Town will take first step on Ella Fleming rehab, sees 38% fund match from the state

The Tewksbury Community Preservation Committee met last night with all members except Planning Board representative Vinny Fratalia. The committee’s main business was to review the Town Meeting articles relevant to Community Preservation Act (CPA) spending.

The CPA allows communities to adopt a local property tax surcharge to fund historic preservation, affordable housing and open space and outdoor recreational facilities. Tewksbury adopted a 1.5% surcharge out of the possible 3% maximum and exempts the first $100,000 of home value and low-income residents. 

The state projects that it will match 38% of the town’s CPA revenues this year from the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund, said Town Manager Richard Montuori. The annual reimbursement rate varies based on the number of communities taking part.

After approving minutes, the committee discussed articles 16, 17, 18, 19 and 21. Town Meeting will vote on these and other articles on Monday beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Tewksbury Memorial High School.

Article 16 will allocate $455,000 to install new LED lights and poles and do associated electrical work at Obdens baseball field at Livingston St. This is the last baseball field without lighting, and the project was requested by the Tewksbury Little League.

Chair John Deputat questioned whether there may be complaints from neighbors, but Montuori said the lighting is designed to be directional toward the field, not neighboring homes. The committee unanimously recommended approval.

Article 17 will pay for new home-side bleachers at the football field at the Saunders Recreation Complex at Livingston St. In October, Town Meeting approved funds to replace the visitor’s side bleachers. 

Committee member Chris Mullins questioned the use of $30,000 in CPA funds on a recreation facility that is not open to all residents, as the field is used only by Tewksbury Youth Football. Montuori responded that no other group has asked to use the field; any such requests would need to be approved by TYF. 

The motion to recommend approval passed 4 – 1 with Mullins voting no. 

Article 18 allocated $80,000 to assess and remediate hazardous materials, such as flooring and paint, at the historic Ella Fleming one-room schoolhouse. Montuori says the town has not finalized how the building will be used, but removing hazardous materials will be the first step. He said the goal is to have a direction decided for the school by May 2024. The committee unanimously recommended adoption.

Article 19 will allow for a five-year treatment course to remediate water-quality issues in Long Pond; the town has used CPA funds for this purpose in the past. For $92,741, a company will ensure the pond is safe for recreational use, such as kayaking — though not swimming. The committee unanimously recommended adoption.

Finally, Article 21 will authorize the town to appropriate reserves, as required, of $122,615 for open space and the same amount for community housing. The historic preservation funds go to pay down the debt incurred for the renovation of Town Hall.

Team Carnation hopes to see you at Town Meeting on Monday!

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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