To the editor:
On Nov. 6, Beverly citizens have an excellent opportunity to maintain and enhance the quality of life that we cherish in our city. The Community Preservation Act is on the ballot on Election Day, and it deserves your support.
CPA is a state law that allows individual cities and towns to set up a dedicated fund to be used locally for open space protection, recreation enhancements, historical preservation and affordable housing. The fund is supported by a small surcharge (1 percent) on your real estate tax. By voting yes on CPA on Election Day, Beverly will also become eligible to receive state matching funds.
What could Beverly do with CPA funds? The money could be used to restore the Lynch Park Carriage House and the GAR Hall, improve athletic fields, purchase open space, enhance trail networks such as a harbor walk, and support the construction of affordable housing so that people who grew up in Beverly and young families will continue to be part of our community. These and similar projects that enhance the quality of life are commitments that the city cannot currently afford.
Who decides which projects get funded? As soon as CPA is passed by voters, the city sets up a Community Preservation Committee made up of representatives of various city boards and other citizens appointed by the City Council. The Community Preservation Committee holds regular meetings and can hear project proposals from anyone in Beverly. Recommendations from the committee are then forwarded to the City Council for final approval.
Many of our neighboring communities — Gloucester, Peabody, Wenham, Manchester-by-the-Sea — have already adopted CPA. This is too good an opportunity for Beverly to pass up.
I hope you will join me by voting yes for CPA on Nov. 6.