Resources that facilitate and/or support the conservation, creation and/or restoration of open space, including parks, outdoor recreational space, wetlands, forests, farm lands, wildlife habitats, etc.

Primary Resources (see summaries below)

  • Community Preservation Act (CPA) (M.G.L. c.44B)
  • Gateway City Parks Program
  • Massachusetts Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Grant Program
  • PARC - Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities
    (formerly the Urban Self-Help Program)

Secondary Resources (see summaries below)

  • Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (CPTC)
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund
  • Peer - to - Peer Technical Assistance Program
  • Smart Growth / Smart Energy Toolkit
  • Urban Renewal Program (UR)

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Primary Resources: Summaries

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Program: Community Preservation Act (CPF)  (M.G.L. c.44B) 
Purpose:

  • To allow cities and towns to exercise control over local planning decisions
  • To allow cities and towns to create a CPF by assessing a surcharge on annual real estate taxes, which can be used to address three core community concerns:
    • Acquisition and preservation of open space
    • Creation and support of affordable housing
    • Acquisition and preservation of historic buildings and landscapes

Key Eligibility Criteria: Voters must approve establishment of a CPF by vote in an annual municipal or state election.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • A minimum of 10% of the annual revenues of the CPF must be used for each of the three core community concerns.
  • The remaining 70% can be allocated for any combination of the allowed uses, or for land for recreational use.

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Program: Gateway City Parks Program
Purpose
: To improve park quality and advance park equity in urban communities by making targeted investments to provide park and recreational opportunities

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • Program open to Gateway Cities (as defined in Chapter 240 of the Acts of 2010)

Funding:

  • Administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Approximately $5M in funding from the Environmental Bond Bill is allocated annually to parks projects
  • Funding priority is given to park projects of different types and scales that are not eligible for another funding source

Eligible Uses:

  • Land acquisition
  • Design and construction or renovation of parks, greenways and other recreational facilities
  • Environmental clean-up
  • Planning and assessment, including the development of Open Space and Recreation Plans

For additional information contact: Kurt Gaertner, Assistant Director of Grants and Technical Assistance, MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, at 617-626-1154 or kurt.gaertner@state.ma.us.

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Program: Massachusetts Land and Water Conservation Fund 
Purpose:
To provide up to 50% of the total project cost for the acquisition, development and renovation of park, recreation or conservation areas 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • All cities and towns
  • Special districts
  • State agencies
  • Access by the general public is required.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund
  • Grants available for park acquisition or development and for conservation acquisition

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Program : Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Grant Program 
Purpose:

  • To assist municipal conservation commissions with the acquisition of land for natural resource and passive outdoor recreation purposes
  • To provide funding for acquisition of land, or a partial interest (such as a conservation restriction), and associated acquisition costs such as appraisal reports and closing costs

Key Eligibility Criteria: Municipal Conservation Commissions

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Lands acquired may include wildlife, habitat, trails, unique natural, historic or cultural resources, water resources, forest, and farm land.
  • Compatible passive outdoor recreational uses such as hiking, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, bird observation and the like are encouraged.
  • Access by the general public is required.

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Program : PARC - Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities 
Purpose:
To assist cities and towns with the acquisition and development of land for park and outdoor recreation purposes 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • Any town with a population of 35,000 or more year-round residents, or any city regardless of size, that has an authorized park commission may apply, or,
  • Communities that do not meet the population criteria may still qualify under the "small town," "regional" or "statewide" project provisions of the program.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Projects to be developed for suitable outdoor recreation purposes, whether active or passive in nature
  • Grants are available for land acquisition and for construction, restoration, or rehabilitation of land for park and outdoor recreation purposes such as swimming pools, zoos, athletic play fields, playgrounds and game courts.
  • Access by the general public is required.

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Secondary Resources: Summaries

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Program : Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (CPTC) 
Purpose:
To provide technical assistance for planning and zoning to cities and towns 

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • City or town officials, including Selectmen, Building Inspectors, and members of Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeal, etc.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

Trainees pay nominal fees for annual workshops and conferences, including:

  • Comprehensive Permit - MGL 40B
  • How to Hold A Perfect Public Hearing
  • Introduction to the Subdivision Control Law and ANR
    • Roles and Responsibilities of Planning & Zoning Boards

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Program: Community Development Block Grant
Purpose: To help cities and towns implement housing, community, and economic development projects that assist low and moderate-income residents, or that revitalize areas of slum or blight

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • MA cities and towns with populations over 50,000 receive CDBG funds directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • MA cities and towns with populations under 50,000 that do not receive CDBG funds directly from HUD are eligible to receive CDBG funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

Eligible CDBG projects include but are not limited to:

  • housing rehabilitation or development
  • micro-enterprise or other business assistance
  • infrastructure
  • community/public facilities
  • public social services
  • planning
  • removal of architectural barriers, and
  • downtown or area revitalization

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Program : Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF ) 
Purpose:

  • To ensure the continued use and integrity of historic cultural resources by supporting the restoration rehabilitation, stabilization, and documentation of historic and archaeological properties, landscapes, and sites listed in the State Register of Historic Places
  • To ensure that government actions are studied in consultation with interested parties, and
  • To ensure that proposed actions be modified, if feasible, so that public funds are not used in ways that cause needless destruction to our heritage

Key Eligibility Criteria:

Historic and archaeological properties listed on the State Register of Historic Places and owned by:

  • Cities
  • Towns
  • Non-profit organizations

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Administered by the Massachusetts Historical Commission
  • 50% matching grants are available for qualifying properties listed on the State Register to ensure their physical preservation.
  • Applicants have the option to apply for up to 75% of the total project cost if they are willing to commit an additional 25% toward an endowment fund for long-range preservation and maintenance of the property.
  • Studies necessary to enable future development or protection of a State Register-listed property
  • Construction activities including stabilization, protection, rehabilitation, and restoration
  • Costs of material and labor necessary to ensure the preservation, safety, and accessibility of historic cultural resources
  • Universal access development is allowable as part of a larger project.
  • Overall building preservation, building code compliance, and barrier-free access where historic fabric is directly involved
  • Acquisition of State Register-listed properties that are imminently threatened with inappropriate alteration or destruction
  • The acquisition of endangered properties
  • The restoration of historic building
  • Research projects such as:
    • Historic structures reports
    • Archaeological data recovery projects, or
    • Study of innovative preservation techniques

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Program : Peer - to - Peer Technical Assistance Program 
Purpose:
To provide small grants to municipalities for short-term problem solving or technical assistance projects. Municipalities may apply for grants of up to $1,000 to employ appointed or elected municipal officials from other communities to provide technical assistance related to community development and/or capacity building at the local level.

Key Eligibility Criteria:

MA cities and towns with populations of under 50,000 that do not receive CDBG funds directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • CDBG Technical Assistance Funds provide for grants of up to $1,000.
  • Exclusively for technical assistance related to community development and/or capacity building related to community development at the local level
  • Grant funds may be used to pay for up to 30 hours ($900) of technical assistance and up to $100 for reimbursement of travel, photocopying and/or the cost of incidental materials.
  • A maximum of 10 eligible applications are funded yearly on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Program : Smart Growth / Smart Energy Toolkit 
Purpose:

  • To provide easy access to information on twelve different planning , zoning and subdivision techniques
  • To increase understanding of smart growth tools and how to customize the techniques to local circumstances

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • The Toolkit is designed to be both an educational guide and a reference document

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

  • Provided by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

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Program : Urban Renewal Program (UR) 
Purpose:

  • To redevelop deteriorated areas (substandard, decadent or blighted open areas) by providing the economic environment needed to attract and support private investment for residential, commercial, industrial, business, governmental, recreational, educational, hospital or other purposes
  • To help cities and towns establish and strengthen urban renewal agencies
  • To provide technical assistance in the development and implementation of urban renewal plans

Key Eligibility Criteria:

  • All MA cities and towns
  • Urban Renewal Agencies (Redevelopment Authorities and Consolidated Departments of Community Development)

Funding and/or Eligible Uses:

Funding: Urban Revitalization Development Grant Program (Requires separate application)

Eligible Uses:

  • Planning
  • Establishment of design and rehabilitation standards
  • Acquisition of land, including taking of land by eminent domain
  • Assembly of land into developable parcels and disposition for private redevelopment
  • Relocation of businesses and residential occupants
  • Demolition or rehabilitation of structures
  • Improvements to infrastructure
  • Issuance of bonds and borrowing of money

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Contact

DHCD Community Services at 617-573-1400