LETTER: Residents Thankful for Quick Response by Public Works Employees

A Watertown Department of Public Works snow plow. To the Editor:

We are writing to thank the Watertown Public Works Department, and to commend two of its workers for the outstanding service they recently provided to us. On Sunday, March 22 our sewer line became blocked. We attempted to unclog it with no success. About 6:30 p.m. we called the DPW to see if it would be possible for someone to come by the next morning.

Town Cancelling Meetings, Town Hall & DPW Closed to Visitors, Parking Passes Valid

Watertown Town Hall

(CORRECTION: It was incorrectly stated in a previous version of the story that the March 23 School Committee meeting will be cancelled. It will be held remotely.)

The Town of Watertown will not be holding meetings for the next few weeks as a precaution against the Coronavirus, and Town Hall and the Department of Public Works Facility are the latest to close to public visitors. Town Council President Mark Sideris said all meetings through April 6. Town Manager Michael Driscoll also announced that Town Hall and the Department of Public Works will be closed through April 6, and asked residents to call or email if they need to contact town officials. Town Meetings

On Monday, Sideris informed the Town Council that he was cancelling meetings.

Several Options for New High School, All Have Some Headaches

An illustration of how a new high school building with a four story academic wing could fit on the current WHS site. Architect Scott Dunlap stressed this is just a mock up to see if it would fit, not a design. Designers of the new Watertown High School presented several options for how and where new building could be built, but none of the options were simple and all have challenges. Last week, Scott Dunlap, the lead architect from Ai3 Architects, showed the School Building Committee some of the options for how a new high school could be built. With no obvious piece of unoccupied land, all the scenarios require tearing down existing buildings or displacing facilities, such as fields or the Senior Center. At a meeting in December, Dunlap presented some locations, including the existing high school site (both with or without the nearby former-Phillips School), the Victory Field site (both with or without the DPW facility), and Moxley Field.

Watertown Gets Boost in Road/Transportation Funds from State of Nearly $74K

A road after being milled and prepared for overlay of new asphalt.

Watertown will get its share of the $20 million added to the state’s road and transportation improvement funding as part of the supplemental budget approved by Governor Baker in December. The money comes on top of the $200 million already in the Fiscal Year 2020 State budget for Chapter 90. Watertown will receive and extra $73,924, for a total of $813,159 in Chapter 90 funding for FY20. “This funding represents our continued commitment to supporting communities as they address the maintenance and modernization of local infrastructure, which are a critical part of the Commonwealth’s transportation network,” said Governor Charlie Baker in an announcement this week.  “We are pleased to provide this additional transportation funding for local projects in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.”

Chapter 90 transportation funds support all 351 cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. Funding for each municipality is predetermined by a formula that includes factors such as population, road miles, and employment, according to the release from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Christmas Tree Disposal & Styrofoam Recycling Event

With the holidays over, it’s time to take down the tree and get rid of the styrofoam packaging. The Watertown Department of Public Works can help you with both of these tasks. Christmas trees will be picked up from the curbside on your regular trash collection day through the month of January. Please no ornaments or plastic bags. The trees will be chipped.

High-Tech Lights on Watertown Square Trees Allow for More Colorful Display

The new lights on the trees on the Watertown Square Delta can change colors and display patterns. The lights on the trees in Watertown Square have gone high tech, and will be lit for more than just the holidays. Residents may have noticed the lights around the trees on the Watertown Delta shine not only brighter, but in different colors. This is the result of the new light system installed by the Department of Public Works, said Jesse Myott, the DPW’s Director of Administration and Finance. For years, the lights on the trees in the Watertown Delta were all white.

Recycle Your Styrofoam at the Watertown DPW Event

Recycle your Styrofoam at the special DPW event. Just in time for the post-holiday cleanup, the Watertown Department of Public Works will host a styrofoam recycling event. Watertown residents will will also have a chance to shred paper and to get rid of tires (no rims). I.D. will be required. It is not open to businesses or commercial entities.

Town Rebidding 2019 Road Projects, Announces Roads Being Repaired in 2020

A road being repaired in Watertown. A higher than expected bid delayed the road repairs in Watertown in 2019, but they Town will seek to do both those roads and another eight in 2020. Tuesday night, the Town Council approved funding for construction of the 2019 projects, and also heard the recommended roads to be reconstructed in 2020. When the Town went to bid on the 2019 roads repair projects in May, only one firm bid on the work and it came in $693,000 (33.1 percent) over the $2.5 million budget, said Department of Public Works Superintendent Gerry Mee. This time, the bids will go out in December, ahead of other municipal road projects, and the work will be split up.