Ayer, a small town located on the edge of Middlesex County along the Nashua River, was one of the first communities to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in April 2001. Working closely with the Ayer Community Preservation Committee and holding working sessions with all the CPC's statutory boards and commission, JM Goldson prepared the Town of Ayer's first Community Preservation Plan.
In 2009, when JM Goldson was initially contracted for work on the plan, Ayer's CPA program had generated just over $2 million since adoption and 50 percent of all expenditures had been used for community housing projects. Other expenditures had been split between recreation and historic preservation projects. Over 23% of Ayer's total land area (excluding the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone) was unprotected open space and over 85% of this land was zoned for residential development. Despite the lack of protections, open space, water resources, and wildlife habitat areas are key characteristics of Ayer's quality of life and character.
Through JM Goldson’s work with the CPC, the process increased awareness of the CPA program and created broad buy-in for the final Plan. The final CPA plan included a step-by-step strategy to identify, prioritize, and implement a land protection deal in Ayer.