Council Wants to Discuss How to Handle Future Park Projects

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With the recent controversy over how the Victory Field Phase 2 renovation was handled, a Town Council subcommittee will discuss whether a new policy should be developed for handling park projects.

Last week, the Council voted to create an ad hoc committee to oversee the design of the renovations of the track and tennis court area at Victory Field. Councilor Aaron Dushku said he wanted to consider having a policy for park rehabilitations and enhancements.

Councilor Cecilia Lenk said she is not sure such oversight is needed for all projects.

“I understand people are frustrated with what happened,” Lenk said. “Each park is unique. We have a number of projects planned, both minor and major ones.”

Council Vice President Steve Corbett added that it is important to remember that many of the parks and green spaces in town actually fall under the authority of the Watertown Public Schools and the state – in the case of the riverfront.

Councilor Tony Palomba said he would like to have a discussion and it would need to start at the subcommittee level.

“We can’t have a discussion in an open forum unless we put it someplace,” Palomba said.

The current system works most of the time, said Councilor Angeline Kounelis.

“When we had the second renovation of Filippello Park, we had a lot of neighborhood input,” Kounelis said. “We knew what the community needed and made it happen. The way it works now is proper. There were a few glitches that need to be addressed.”

Councilor Susan Falkoff said she does not have an opinion one way or another, but “I am willing to have a discussion.”

The Council voted 8-1 to refer the discussion of park rehabilitation and enhancement to the Health and Human Services subcommittee. Kounelis voted against the motion.

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