Community Preservation Trust celebrates first home purchase and sale
BY ALEXANDRA ALPERT
The Community Preservation Trust, an offshoot of the College Park City-University Partnership (CPCUP), held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 20 to celebrate its first purchase and sale of a home in the city. The program was established to preserve the character of the city’s neighborhoods through buying and selling homes. The trust also aims to increase home ownership in the city by making affordable homes available as part of a $15 million initiative made possible through three different grants.
William Whichard, who had the honor of cutting the ribbon during the ceremony, is the program’s newly minted homeowner in the Calvert Hills neighborhood. Whichard rented the house he now owns for almost ten years. He was interested in buying the home, which led him to the trust.
Whichard reflected on the process that resulted in his owning the home. “This has been the icing on the cake of a process that started back in the spring,” he said.
Whichard said that he has good relationships with his neighbors and hoped to stay in the home he’d been renting. He expressed his belief that a strengthened community creates a stronger city. Whichard spoke briefly before cutting the ribbon. “Gratitude characterizes what I feel today,” he said.
Daniel Cunningham, executive director of the trust, emphasized the significance of the program’s first sale.
“By providing opportunities to expand the pool of homeowners, we have an opportunity for more diversity of homeownership, long-term preservation of neighborhoods and also creating wealth opportunities for people,” he said. He added that he views homeownership as a significant means of creating wealth within the community.
Mayor Fazlul Kabir attended the ceremony and praised the program’s accomplishment.
“This is a fantastic event … and this is a program that will give our residents an opportunity to own a home, build generation wealth and help stabilize the neighborhood,” he said.
Kabir hopes that through the city’s support, the program can become sustainable and will offer similar opportunities to others looking to buy homes in the future.
The purchase was made possible through three separate grants from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and an administrative planning grant from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
CPCUP is a non-profit, local development co-sponsored by the City of College Park and the University of Maryland.
Susan Hartman, executive director of the College Park City-University Partnership, says that this is just the beginning of this program.
Hartman stated that just like Whichard, who has lived in College Park and contributed to this community, she is really excited about this program affecting more people and creating stability.
“This is the first of what will be many homebuyer occasions,” she said, adding, “We are really excited.”