I am the one member of the Community Preservation Committee who opposed the request for $400,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for the first phase of the Stone Building project. I relied on the ultimate total cost of the project. Mike Cronin and Jim Malloy presented to the committee and justified these amounts: design $1,000,000; construction $9,000,000; contingency $900,000. Looking ahead to other likely future project requests, my analysis adds $1,000,000 for the cost of debt financing.
Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds can be used for historic preservation, open space, outdoor recreational facilities, and affordable housing. The Lexington Housing Assistance Board (LexHAB), recently secured a home to be used for affordable housing for $715,000. Utilize a figure of $800,000 each for securing, over time, additional smaller homes for this use. Using, let’s posit, $11,200,000 for this purpose could pay for 14 homes. LexHAB and the Lexington Housing Authority have many small homes which have provided housing for lower income people in our wealthy community for lengthy periods of up to 42 years.
Imagine these possible scenarios six years from now: 1) a Lyceum discussion in First Parish Church or the Community Center, noting the creation of these homes, or even more if these funds are used by the new Housing Trust to leverage larger projects, and also addressing how to do as well in the next 6 years; or 2) a Lyceum discussion in a perfect Stone Building, in our highly literate manner, on our desire for enhanced diversity in Lexington’s population and how to achieve it.
Note also: as of this Town Meeting, in the history of CPA funding, $34,000,000 has been provided for the historic preservation category, not including additional cost of debt financing, $12,000,000 for community housing, $22,299,000 for recreational resources, and $18,000,000 for open space. Beyond this: note the impact of future full funding of the Stone Building and approval of funding for the Monroe Center project, approaching $7,000,000 — both historic preservation projects.
The pattern regarding historic preservation and community (affordable) housing is not congruent with the description and discussion of our full set of community interests and values in the comprehensive plans of the mid-1980’s, 2002, or 2022.