The Community Preservation Committee will host a virtual public hearing on proposals for fiscal year 2023 Wednesday, Jan. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The hearing is in preparation for Annual Town Meeting, scheduled for Monday, March 12, 2022.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake, funded through a 3 percent property tax surcharge under the provisions of the 2000 community preservation law. The local amount is supplemented by state funds.
Spending is limited to the areas of historic preservation, affordable housing, and open space and recreation.
The Zoom link for the hearing is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82643847964?pwd=REpDcHR0UGNvRnN4YTl0cTNSY1VBZz09
(Passcode: 171019; webinar ID #826 4384 7964; Phone option: 646-558-8656).
Although much of the draft spring program and plan is committed to long-term payments on bonded projects, there are always new and interesting proposals to complement them.
“One of the things I enjoy about this committee is the things we invest in are very visible,” said Lauren Crews, the Bedford Housing Authority member who serves as Community Preservation Committee chair.
Proposals emanate not just from arms of local government but also from individual and collective residents. And there are projects from both sources on the draft that will be on the agenda for next Wednesday:
- Replacement of the decking on the historic depot building at 80 Loomis St. The project, which also calls for some painting, is priced at close to $218,000. The work was proposed by the Facilities Department.
- Minuteman Bikeway extension land purchases, $1.2 million. These easements and rights-of-way along the former railroad bed between Railroad Avenue and Wheeler Drive are among the final steps prior to construction of the bikeway, which the state Department of Transportation has targeted for next fall. The project itself is state-funded.
- Transfer of $600,000 to the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust. This proposal was submitted individually by Christina Wilgren, a committee member and probably the town’s most passionate advocate for affordable housing. The concept is to reserve enough money within the trust to facilitate purchasing one or more units to add to the town’s affordable housing inventory when they go on sale. The town’s land acquisition fund works in a similar fashion but is limited to a pre-approved list of potential purchases.
- Construction of a court for pickleball games. Currently, pickleball players use tennis courts. The plan is bundled with other rehabilitation needs for municipal and school grounds, with a total proposal of $315,000. Crews pointed out that the sponsors did not include a specific site.
- Upgrade of the playground on the central campus, along with the construction of dugouts on the adjacent Field E. The work was proposed by the Department of Public Works, with the explanation that much of the equipment at the playground has reached the point for replacement under manufacturers’ guidelines.
Other smaller proposals include digitizing of early town records; new shade structures for Springs Brook Park; continuing development of trails; and repairs to the skate park.
Crews said that although her committee works with a long-range plan, at the hearing “we will focus specifically on fiscal year 2023.
Some of the highlights of the long-range plan are rehabilitation of the Buehler conservation area in fiscal year 2024; aluminum windows in Town Hall, 2027; and a boardwalk in the Springs Brook Park conservation area, 2028.
Some of the projects in the draft—the housing grant and the town and school grounds improvements, trails, Springs Brook – are installments of multi-year proposals, Crews pointed out.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763