In addition to some anti-CPA letters, the October 28 edition of the TAB also contained the glossy supplement Lens which included the article “Renovation and Innovation.” The piece showed how Bridgewater has restored and updated several historic buildings in ways that now save the town money, energy, and staff time as well as preserving examples of their history — a project partially funded by their CPA.
Creative solutions like that are what we at the Historical Society of Watertown have suggested when talking about Orchard House and the Schick House (houses we do not own and over which we have no control). They represent the type of buildings that could be restored and converted to use as office space for some small business or organization. The Schick House could even become a bed and breakfast. Using CPA funds for that sort of project, besides preserving historic architecture, would create useful space for small businesses that generate taxes and provide jobs.
The town could have used CPA funds to retrofit the two much-beloved branch libraries, not to mention the former Police Station. It could have updated the former Parker School which the town sold. One of the School Department’s plans suggests restoring and adding to existing school buildings, which CPA funds could be used for as the older buildings do qualify as historic despite what some have said.
The same issue of the TAB also included a two-color flier from Watertown Strong Schools that noted “the economic diversity of our Town” and the possible hardship of new taxes on “many of our neighbors.” CPA supporters agree, which is why the Act includes an exemption for low-income and senior tax payers. In addition, it also has a provision to be placed on the ballot in the future to be amended or even cancelled. A handful of towns have done just that and in every case have voted to keep their CPA once they saw how it has benefited them.
Historical Society of Watertown