During her time on the Town Council, which ended with the New Year, Cecilia Lenk got involved in some of the biggest issues, such as the town’s finances, but she also liked to tackle some of the less glamorous areas such as roads, sidewalks and sewers.
Lenk joined the Council six years ago, when the District B seat opened up. Her most prominent role prior to that was serving on the Building Committee for the expansion of the Watertown Free Public Library.
“Jon Hecht was leaving the seat (to become a state representative) and a number of people encouraged me to run,” Lenk said. “It was something I was interested in doing and it seemed like the right time.”
She thought some of her expertise would be useful on the Council, particularly in the area of financial and the environment.
The town and the council has come a long way, she said, including being more environmentally friendly.
“When I first joined the Council, everything was on paper,” Lenk said. “We got a packet of paper each week, which was delivered by a police officer.”
The packets now come electronically, Lenk said.
When she joined the Council, economic development was one of the big targets for Lenk and her colleagues. It remains a hot topic six years later.
“We were anticipating (development). There were properties that needed attention,” Lenk said. “It always takes longer than you think. That is the first thing you learn.”
Some of the Council’s biggest accomplishments during her time, Lenk said, was the creation and adoption of a variety of planning and economic development documents, such as the Strategic Framework for Economic Development, the Comprehensive Plan and the rezoning of Pleasant Street.
The process itself has improve, too, Lenk said.
“It is a lot more open of a process,” Lenk said. “There are more open meetings.”
As she leaves, having lost her bid for a fourth term in November, Lenk said she would have liked to have seen through the rezoning of the area near the malls, known as the Regional Mixed Use District or RMUD.
Having served on the Public Works subcommittee, Lenk said she would also like to have worked more on one of her other interests, the town’s infrastructure.
“I am also interested in the upcoming stormwater legislation, and also the water and sewer system,” Lenk said. “It’s tough when you have an aging infrastructure.”
While serving as a Councilor, Lenk has always had a job that has kept her plenty busy. She is the Creative Strategist at FableVision, a Boston-based tech company on education software and resources.
“I’ve always been a two career person. I have my day job and the council,” Lenk said. “I will continue my day job. … One thing I will take advantage of is my ability to travel more for work.”
In addition, she joined an advisory board for the Engineering School at Johns Hopkins University, where Lenk got her undergraduate degree.
Lenk also plans to spend more time on one of her favorite pastimes.
“I will spend time with my family and will have more time for gardening,” Lenk said.
You will also likely see her at a few meetings around town.