As the people of Arlington reflect on whether or not to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA), I would like to offer some thoughts on why I believe doing so is a good idea. The CPA affords communities an opportunity to invest in specific, positive ways. It is hard to prioritize the sorts of investments the CPA emphasizes within the context of a town budget. With roads to repair, schools to fund, and salaries and pensions to pay, money for conservation, historical preservation, outdoor recreation, and affordable housing is scarce. But these are precisely the investments that distinguish a community like Arlington and safeguard its future, and there are strong arguments for why each type of investment is of great value.
- Preservation of open space improves life for all residents of Arlington. The beauty of open spaces makes a community desirable and thereby increases property values. The opportunity to spend time outside also provides opportunities for physical activity and for children to learn about and appreciate nature.
- Affordable housing, which is important in its own right, helps maintain the economic diversity that is central to Arlington’s identity. Additionally, helping those of more modest means is consistent with the town’s values. Living in Arlington has grown increasingly expensive over the years and helping alleviate that burden for those in need is ever more important.
- Like Boston and its surrounding communities, Arlington is a town full of history. Historical sites are easily lost and costly to preserve, but once protected, they are treasured by locals and visitors alike.
- Outdoor recreation facilities promote fun, healthy living, and community. Whether it is individuals availing themselves of public spaces or children coming together to play sports, outdoor recreation gets people active and interacting with each other.
Central to helping Arlington make investments in these areas is the fact that passing the CPA will entitle Arlington to state monies. The Department of Revenue distributes the Community Preservation Trust Fund to communities to support CPA projects and encourage adoption of the CPA. Leaving that money “on the table” does not make sense.
Through adoption of the CPA, the people of Arlington can come together to improvement their wonderful community. I encourage the people of Arlington to adopt the CPA and continue to build a community in which so many already want to live.