To the editor, and the Watertown community,
I think the thing that bothers me most about this, and many other developments going on around the Boston area, is the fact that none of what I see takes into account the existing residents. There is no thought about who already lives here, and how what they develop will affect the area. There is no thought of including any of the character, the history of the location, buildings, etc., which is very important to the knowledge of how our county was formed.
No thought of the people who have made this area what it is … no thought of all of the cultures, especially in East Watertown, that already reside here. The food, the shops, the life blood of a community. All of these developments, Assembly Square, Fenway, Seaport, Natick Collection, Burlington, etc., are all cookie cutter designs that, in the long run, destroy the best things of the areas they are supposedly trying to make better.
This has already happened along Pleasant Street, here in Watertown, and now Arsenal Street with probably some of the ugliest buildings that I have ever seen. Whoever is the architect should hang their head. And a huge missed opportunity to connect the people back to the Charles River. Yes there is a path along the river, and a new park downstream from the square which is wonderful, but then there is a wall of condos and apartments along Pleasant Street.
Just look at the plans for the Arsenal Yard project, which I thought was The Arsenal Project. Same comment as above for the architecture they are planning there. Quick and dirty. Make your money, and leave to ruin another neighborhood somewhere else. Another thing, who is going to pay for the larger fire equipment, and where we will put those new pieces of equipment that will be required for the much taller buildings that are being proposed. Many of the buildings that are being built are being made out of pine and particle board, then covered in vinyl. Is that a good combination for a tall building? From my calculations, some of these proposed buildings will be around 20 stories, based on 196 feet.
I realize that the taller buildings could not be made out of wood, but the lower buildings, like the new Marriott, made out of wood and already here, could be. Do you think that the folks that own the mall across the street aren’t watching what’s going on. It would be very easy for the same thing to happen across the street, tuning East Watertown into a small city in its own right. Do we really want another Seaport, or Kendell Square, or Fenway, which is a homogenized mess, here in Watertown. Traffic, no character, no local culture … just generic America, or what I call Gemerica. Tall chrome and glass buildings with condos, restaurants, apartments, offices, stores, that most people in this area will not be able to afford.
I am not against change over at the mall, it was getting a little long in the tooth, but is this really what we want in East Watertown? Do we really want to be another Kendall Square, or Cambridge West? We are Watertown, not Cambridge. The West End of Boston use to be a wonderful smelting pot of culture, now it is gone. Only one triple decker, near the Garden, left as represents what use to be there.
Maybe my comments are coming too late. Just one more opinion, in the sea of opinions.
Mark C. Helton