Cambridge City Hall

The Community Preservation Act (CPA)

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) was created by a state law (MGL Chapter 44B) to help cities and towns preserve the character of their community. Cambridge voters passed the Community Preservation Act in 2002, allowing a 3% surcharge on Property Tax bills (with certain residential exemptions) to fund affordable housing, open space and historical preservation.

The CPA statute also created a statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Revenue (DOR). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides "matching" funds in addition to those raised locally by the surcharge. The percentage of the state "match" will vary from year to year, depending on the number of participating communities and fees paid at the Registry of Deeds. These funds may be used towards the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources; the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; the creation, preservation and support of community housing, recommending wherever possible, the reuse of existing building or construction of new buildings on previously developed sites; and the rehabilitation or restoration of land for open space, recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created using CPA funds.

Each year, at least 10% of annual CPA revenues shall be spent or set aside for later spending on open space, historic preservation and community housing. The remaining percentage can be used towards any of the three funding categories.

Community Preservation Act: History

  • September 2000: CPA Signed by Governor Paul Cellucci.
  • November 2001: Adopted by Cambridge voters.
  • March 2002: CPA Committee (CPAC) formed by City Manager.
  • July 2012: Amendments to the CPA legislation now allow for greater flexibility in use of CPA Open Space funds from the first 10% allocation, including active and passive recreational uses such as parks, playgrounds, community gardens and athletic fields. Changes also provide another funding source for state matching funds.

Online Services

Contact Information

Chair - Lisa Peterson,
Deputy City Manager

Principal Budget Analyst - Angela Pierre

Budget Office - 617-349-4267

Sr. Management Analyst - Karen Preval

City Manager's Office - 617-349-4221

795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm