Council Approves Funds for Design of Elementary School Projects

An illustration of what the new Hosmer School will likely look like when completed, The view is from the east looking at the new main entrance. The Town Council approved the first major funding piece for the $170 million reconstruction of Watertown’s three elementary schools on Tuesday night. The project will be paid for within the Town’s budget, without requiring a debt exclusion to pay for the work, Town Manager Michael Driscoll said. The Council approved a loan order for $12.441 million for design services. Town Council President Mark Sideris noted that the project, and the price tag has changes significantly.

Council Questions Staffing Level of Planning Department With All the Development in Town

Watertown’s Town Hall. With all the development going on in Watertown, and some recent controversial projects, the Town Council wondered whether the Community Development and Planning Department has the enough staff to handle it all. The questions were posed to Director of the Community Development and Planning Department (DCDP) and Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon during the department’s budget hearing on Monday night. Development

Development has increased year after year over the past several years, and last year was the busiest, Magoon said. His department dealt with a record high 1,396 permits in 2018, up from 1,167 in 2017.

Candidates for Watertown Elected Boards Can Take Out Papers

Watertown Town Hall

Friday marks the start of the election season in Watertown as candidates can take out papers to run for Town office. Town Clerk John Flynn said some papers have already been pulled by potential candidates. The papers, with signatures, must be turned into the Town Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2019. Elected offices in Watertown include Town Council, School Committee and Library Board of Trustees. The Town’s Preliminary Election, if needed, would be held Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Watertown’s General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

Watertown Parking Report Recommends New Meter Technology, Changes in Fees

A parking consultant recommends replacing Watertown’s current parking meters with “smart” meters that offer a range of payment options. Watertown needs to make some major changes to its parking prices and rules in Watertown Square and Coolidge Square to improve the parking situation in these key business districts, said consultants who studied the Town’s parking situation. The report came after two public input meetings, and observations of how full parking spaces are in and around Watertown Square and Coolidge Square. The presentation was made during a public meeting Tuesday night at the Watertown Free Public Library. Watertown Senior Transportation Planner Laura Wiener said the goal is to make the areas more vibrant and attractive places for people to shop, dine and hang out.

State Rep. Hecht to Receive an Award from Keep Massachusetts Beautiful

State Rep. Jonathan Hecht

Watertown State Rep. Jonathan Hecht will be honored with a Massachusetts Clean Community Award for his work to reduce the amount of waste in the Bay State. The award will be given out by the Keep Massachusetts Beautiful group at a ceremony on May 16, 2019 in Boston. Other recipients include State Sen. Paul Feeney, Rep. Jay Barrows, and Rep. Randy Hunt. Keep Massachusetts Beautiful is a non-profit group working to “to keep Massachusetts communities clean, green, and litter-free.” Hecht will receive the award because of his work as a legislator trying to reduce waste, said Neil Rhein, executive director of Keep Massachusetts Beautiful.

State Funding for Local Schools to be Discussed at Meeting Co-Hosted by Sen. Brownsberger

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following information was provided by State Sen. Brownsberger’s Office:

State Sen. Will Brownsberger will co-host a listening session on state funding for local schools with State Senator Jason Lewis, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, to learn more about the needs of schools in Watertown, Belmont and Boston in advance of the senate’s FY20 budget debate, which will begin May 20. The first segment of the event will provide local education leaders the opportunity to share their schools’ experiences and concerns with state funding. After community presentations, the remaining time will be spent providing attendees the opportunity to make comments and ask questions. The hearing will be limited to two hours and is open to the public. All are encouraged to attend.

Watertown Dems Electing Delegates, Hosting Author Talk

The following information was provided by the Watertown Democrats:

Registered Democrats in Watertown will be holding a caucus at the Watertown Savings Bank Room of the Watertown Free Public Library on Sunday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m. to elect 25 delegates and five alternates to the 2019 Massachusetts Democratic Convention. This year’s state convention will be held Sept. 14 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, where thousands of Democrats from across the state will come together to discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for upcoming elections. “This year’s convention will be unique as we look to strengthen the party for 2020 and the future. The Watertown caucus is a great opportunity for people who want to get involved in the process,” said Watertown Democratic Town Committee Chair Steve Owens.

Give Your Opinion on Changes to Parking in Watertown at Upcoming Meeting

The public is invited to give input on Watertown’s Parking Management plan for Watertown Square and Coolidge Square which was presented earlier this year. The Watertown Planning Department provided the following information:

The Town seeks public input on draft parking strategies, presented at a public meeting on May 7. Please join the Town and project team at the Watertown Parking Management Plan Draft Strategies Public Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, from 7-8:30 p.m., at the Watertown Public Library (Watertown Savings Bank Room). Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., to review key findings from Watertown and Coolidge Squares’ parking data collection, public engagement survey and January open houses. In January, the public had the opportunity to provide input at two public open houses to review parking supply and utilization data, share parking concerns, and give the Town ideas on how to improve parking management in Watertown Square and Coolidge Square.