Funds for Dartmouth Cultural Center, land conservation recommended by Community Preservation Committee

Sep 12, 2023

While Community Preservation funds continue to assist projects around Town, the Community Preservation Committee has two more funding opportunities on the horizon. 

For a vote at October Town Meeting, the Community Preservation Committee recommends two proposals: funding the first phase of renovations for the Dartmouth Cultural Center and acquiring a large chunk of land next to the Town’s aquifer. 

As previously reported, the Cultural Center aims to make its building handicap accessible and upgrade the electrical and heating systems. Supporting the building, which was built in 1889 and served as Southworth Library, is a key part of the Cultural Center’s mission, and what caused the group to form around 2018

The Center received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for $160,000, and is looking for an additional $260,000 from the CPC. 

“The DCC has demonstrated a viable use for these buildings, which is great, these past few years,” said CPC Chair Buddy Baker-Smith. “The handicap accessibility will open up other doors for them in terms of cultural grants”

The CPC also recommended $250,000 for the “Paskamansett drinking water land protection project,” which is the acquisition of about 196 acres off of Tucker Road that abuts the Town’s aquifer. The acquisition would not only protect the town’s aquifer, Baker-Smith said, but also provide potential for water drilling or public walking trails in the future. 

The Community Preservation Act, passed in 2000, lets towns and cities place a 1 to 3 percent property tax surcharge on residents, with matching funds from the state, to spend on affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and recreation.

Dartmouth currently charges a 1.5% surcharge on property taxes, which it adopted in 2002. The town’s Community Preservation Committee studies the needs of the town and evaluates proposals for the funding, but funding ultimately needs to be approved at Town Meeting. To date, the committee has given out 88 project awards, totaling $14.9 million.