The City Council approved the recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which includes extending the Community Path, improvements to Watertown Middle School, reusing the old Watertown Police Station, along with road repair and other projects.
The 34 recommendations of the FY23-27 CIP includes $27.6 million in capital spending in Fiscal year 2023, which would be 7.71 percent of the total projected City revenues not including the funds for the Building for the Future school projects (16 percent with them). That figure fits within the City Council’s budget guideline to spend between 7.5 percent and 8 percent of the City Operating Budget on capital projects, said Council Vice President Vincent Piccirilli.
Three of the CIP recommendations related to extending the Community Path, which currently goes from Arlington Street, behind Target to School Street, and runs along Arsenal Street.
The path will be extended from Taylor Street (off Arsenal Street) to Saltonstall Park. The CIP includes $325,000 for the design of this stretch of the path, and the item will be referred to the Council’s Joint Committees on Public Works and Economic Development & Planning.
Another $3 million is proposed to be borrowed to construct the path from Linear Park (the path through Saltonstall Park and from Whites Avenue to Waverley Avenue. This would also be referred to the Joint Committees on Public Works and Economic Development & Planning.
The path is proposed to continue through former railroad property in the Howard Street/Bacon Street area. The project also includes a Department of Public Works storage area. The City received mitigation funds more than 10 years ago from developers to construct the section, but the money is not enough to cover the cost. An additional $500,000 has been recommended in Fiscal Year 2023 for the project construction. The Committee on Public Works will review the designs.
Watertown Middle School
Four of Watertown’s five public schools have been or are in the process of being rebuilt or renovated. The fifth one, Watertown Middle School, has not been ignored. The CIP includes a list of projects planned for the school.
The FY23 capital appropriation includes:
$310,000 for various items to be funded with tax revenues, consisting of:
i. Middle School classroom furniture @ $25,000
ii. Middle School paint hallways & classrooms @$40,000
iii. Middle School rekey doors and update locks @ $90,000
iv. Middle School new exterior electronic sign @ $50,000
A proposed loan order for Various School Improvements in the Middle School for
i. Design Courtyard & Exterior Grounds Landscape @ $120,000
ii. Renovate Courtyard & Exterior Grounds Landscape @ $275,000
iii. First floor HVAC @ $945,000
The CIP also includes money from the FY22 CIP that proposes to borrow or transfer $3,080,000 for:
Upgrade phone system @ $50,000
Remodel bathrooms (8) @ $210,000
Second floor air-conditioning @ $650,000
New fire protection system @ $2,000,000
First floor air-conditioning @ $170,000
Former Police Station
The future of the former Police Station on Whooley Way (near the Watertown Library), has been discussed for several years. Proposals had included moving the Watertown Public Schools Administration offices to the building, using it for the Hatch Makerspace, and moving other City departments into the building. The School Administration offices will remain at the Phillips Building.
The CIP includes a $1 million loan order for designing a new building on the site of the former Police Station.
The CIP includes money for Phase 2 of the Victory Field improvements that include the track and courts area, money to replace the artificial turf field, as well as funds to design the Field House (Phase 3)
In FY17, $3 million was approved for the Phase 2 work. This recommendation was re-confirmed, but added that more funds may be needed because the cost estimate is several years old. This portion of the project will be prioritized.
The artificial turf on the football/baseball field at Victory Field is scheduled to be replaced. A $1.5 million loan order has been proposed for the turf replacement. However, the project has been proposed to be delayed because the City faces a shortage of playing fields. Moxley Field will be used as the temporary location for Watertown High School during the construction of the new High School, plus O’Connell Field being unavailable due to construction at Hosmer School.
The CIP includes a $375,000 proposed loan order or transfer of funds for the Victory Field
Phase 3 Fieldhouse Design.
The FY23 CIP includes $2.5 million loan order for local road construction projects, and $1.5 million for connector road/longer street projects. This is the same amount as previous years.
In FY24 CIP includes $600,000 to be borrowed for designing a special needs baseball/softball diamond. The item will go to the Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee for policy guidance about where to locate the facility and what would be included. The Recreation Department will hold community meetings about the project, and will make one or more presentations to the Council.
The CIP includes loan orders for electric vehicle charging stations: $90,000 in FY24 and $90,000 in FY25.
See the FY 2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan report by clicking here.