The west end of Watertown has undergone a building boom, but lacks some services, so State Rep. John Lawn is working to bring that part of Watertown together with nearby areas of Newton and Waltham to create the Charles River Mill District.
Lawn spoke about the effort during the Watertown Belmont Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Towns Breakfast on April 2. His district includes precincts in all three communities, and Lawn has met with leaders in each one.
Lawn has been in discussions with Watertown Town Council President Mark Sideris, Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy about the new district. The area would include the Pleasant Street Corridor in Watertown, the Chapel Street are of Newton and River Street to Moody Street in Waltham, Lawn said.
“We want to promote the area for business and create a stronger voice for state assistance for maintenance and MBTA services,” Lawn said. “We hope to have have Hubway Bike stations to take advantage of the path along the river.”
The area would have a strong voice in the State House, with Lawn being joined by State Senators Will Brownsberger, whose district includes Watertwon; Cynthia Creen, who serves Newton; and Mike Barrett who is Waltham’s State Senator.
Lawn will host a meeting about establishing the Charles River Mill District on Wednesday, May 27 from 6-8 p.m. at Chapel Bridge Park, 55 Chapel Street in Newton (off California Street). Residents will be able to share their ideas to improve the corridor.
Also at the breakfast, State Rep. Jonathan Hecht and State Sen. Will Brownsberger spoke about what Watertown can expect from the state budget.
Hecht said the forecast is not very rosy.
“The bottom line is that it will be another tight state budget,” Hecht said. “The governor’s budget has an increase of the overall budget of 4 percent. Of that 4 percent, about two-thirds will go to health care.”
Hecht said he expects Watertown to receive about $250,000 more than last year.
Brownsberger said he is not as hopeful about the budget.
“It’s a tough budget year,” he said. “I wouldn’t even recommend taking the governor’s numbers to the bank.”
Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed a number of ways to cut state expenses, including an early retirement incentive for state workers. Brownsberger said this could hurt later.
“It provides short-term savings but builds in cost over the next 15 years,” Baker said.