LETTER: Resident Joins Race for Watertown Library Trustee

I recently pulled papers to run for the office of Watertown Free Public Library Trustee in the November 2019 election. In the coming weeks and months, I will be canvassing around town, initially gathering enough signatures to appear on the ballot, and getting to know voters and their thoughts about the future of the Watertown Public Library. First, I would like to introduce myself here to my fellow Watertown residents, and explain why I am running for Library Trustee. I am a lifelong Watertown resident. I grew up in the Irving Park neighborhood near Perkins School for The Blind in the 80s and 90s and about 13 years ago moved to the west side of town where I co-purchased a home with my sister.

Developer Eyeing Spot on Major Watertown Intersection for 40B Housing Project

An image from Google Maps showing the proposed site of a 113 unit 40B housing project at the corner of Coolidge Hill Road and Arlington Street. A developer has started the process to build a Chapter 40B residential project on a major intersection in East Watertown. Under the state law to encourage the building of affordable housing, 40B projects do not have to comply with many local zoning rules. The project is proposed for 19 Coolidge Hill Road, on the former E.H. Hinds Atlantic Plant property. The proposal, according to information submitted to the MassHousing Partnership (which oversees 40B projects), would have 113 rental units on the 0.9 acre lot, and would have 28 affordable units.

Funding to Design Arsenal Park Renovation Approved

A view of the planned renovation of Arsenal Park. The Watertown Town Council approved $250,000 to be spent on the design of the majority of Arsenal Park renovation, while another section is moving ahead with funding from the developers of Arsenal Yards. The money will be used to do the detailed designs to all of the park, except for the eastern most part, which is being worked on in conjunction with Arsenal Yards. The project includes a multipurpose field —including a softball field — a playground in the northwest corner with a new bathroom, a picnic area and an expanded splash pad. In addition, the plan includes two basketball courts and three tennis courts, next to a picnic area and space for community gardens.

UPDATED: Watertown Electrical Customers Moving to New Green Energy Program in Fall

Watertown’s new electricity plan will get half its energy from renewable sources, such as solar panels. NOTE: A fourth informational meeting has been added, see details below:

In September, Watertown residents will be transitioned to the Town’s new Electricity Choice Program, which gets half its power from renewable sources. Customers have a choice to opt out of the program, or to get a greater percentage of green electricity. The new renewable energy contract will be part of the state’s Community Choice Aggregation program. In May, the Town Council gave Town Manager Michael Driscoll the authority to approve a contract with a greater amount of renewable energy that required by the state.

Several Candidates Running for Town Council, Library Trustee Spots Not Yet Filled

The open At-Large seat on the Watertown Town Council has drawn significant interest from potential candidates, meanwhile, there are not enough candidates to fill the openings on the Board of Library Trustees. On Nov. 5, 2019, Watertown residents will vote for Town Council, School Committee and Library Trustees. Eight of nine Town Councilors have taken out papers to run for Town Council, and the last seat is currently filled by a temporary councilor. Former-Councilor Susan Falkoff agreed to fill the remainder of the term left vacant when Michael Dattoli left town, and she agreed not to run for reelection.

Council Raises Water, Sewer Rates & Asks Questions

Watertown’s water and sewer rates will be rising after the Town Council approved the new rates, but they also had questions about how the rates increased as the amount of water used dropped. The new rates will include a 2.5 percent increase for water rates and 4.9 percent for sewer rates, for a combined increase of 4 percent. The average customer would pay an extra $13.42 per quarter, or 15 cents a day. See more details about the rates by clicking here. The Council heard a presentation at the end of May about the proposed rates, and the rates that were adopted were identical to the recommendations from the town’s water and sewer consultant.

Zoning Board Member Announces Run for Town Council

The following announcement was provided by John Gannon’s Campaign:

Watertown Zoning Board member and former Watertown Town Attorney John Gannon announced his run for Town Councilor At Large. Running for one of four seats, he said, “I grew up in Watertown and have lived here all my life. My father worked nights at the post office and my mother was a homemaker. I understand how much importance our quality of life in Watertown plays in the lives of children and their families, from our public schools and libraries to our senior centers. As a homeowner and taxpayer, I know how important smart growth is to this town, and I couldn’t be more personally invested.

2019 Watertown Road Projects Delayed After Bids Come in Too High

A slate of seven Watertown roads set to be repaved this year will likely have to wait until next spring after bids for the work came in much higher than expected. Town Manager Michael Driscoll told the Town Council on Tuesday that the bids for the 2019 Watertown street and sidewalk repair project came in and he recommends rejecting them. “There was only one bid and it was 33 percent higher than expected,” Driscoll said. The issue was referred to a joint meeting of the Town Council’s Public Works and Budget & Fiscal Oversight subcommittees to decide how to go forward. Public Works Superintendent Gerry Mee recommended that the bids go out later in the year.