This Week: Council Discussing Whether to Rename for Delta in Watertown Square

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Watertown City Hall

This week, the City Councilors will discuss whether to rename the delta in Watertown Square. Also, the Affordable Housing Trust will look at housing priorities for the City’s ARPA funds, and the Board of Health and School Building Committee also have meetings this week.

Since 1940, the grassy area with large trees in Watertown Square has been known as Columbus Delta. In June 2022, the City Council voted to consider renaming the area after being petitioned by a resident.

On Tuesday, the Council’s Committee on Public Works will make a recommendation on the petition asking to the rename the Columbus Delta. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Council Chamber in City Hall and as well as remote. See the agenda and links here

The Watertown Affordable Housing Trust will discuss housing priorities for the City’s ARPA funds. The City Council will be taking recommendations for how to use the $10 million in Federal COVID relief funds it received. The Trust will also discuss a condo building on Quimby Street. The meeting will be Tuesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room in City Hall and remote. See more here

The Board of Health will discuss two lab permits, for Satellite Biosciences, Inc. – 580 Pleasant Street, and C2i Genomics – 313 Pleasant Street 4 East, on Wednesday, April 19, 7 p.m. Remote. See more here.

The School Building Committee will discuss the high school and elementary school building projects. Wednesday April 19, 6 p.m. Remote. See the agenda here.

14 thoughts on “This Week: Council Discussing Whether to Rename for Delta in Watertown Square

  1. This is an open letter to the councilors on the petition to rename the square-
    Dear Watertown Councilors-
    I learned today that the City Council’s Committee on Public Works will be considering a proposal to change the name of The Columbus Delta this week.
    I would like to urge you to keep the area’s name the same.
    Naming things after Columbus was initially done to acknowledge the man in the 19th and 20th centuries- but now it is so much more. It has become a nod to the Italian influence in our towns and neighborhoods. There is a whole culture that uses the name of Columbus as a touchstone and I feel that they should be respected.
    As Antonio Mastantuono, president of the Watertown Sons & Daughters of Italy said in 2020. “Instead of tearing down history we must celebrate it. We must educate each other, Italian and non-Italian alike. Italians have brought so much to America from the arts, science, culture, food, music and more. None of this culture would be possible if it wasn’t for Christopher Columbus.”
    I think that erasing historical references is counterproductive.
    Thank you for your consideration.

    Patti Cassidy

    • Excellent analysis. Thank you, Patti.

      A small reminder as to how this whole thing got started. This proposed change was brought forward by one Mishy Lesser. Please read more about her below and reach your own conclusions as to what her motivation(s) and intent may be.

      Let’s not become a Mini-Me Cambridge. Keep the name, otherwise activists will keep coming after any other names they find unacceptable. They will never stop.

  2. I also agree that the name on the Delta should remain the same. For some reason people feel it is important to erase history and, therefore, no one learns from it. People are people and we all have failings and successes. Hopefully, we learn from any of our mistakes. Christopher Columbus was a brave explorer who took on an adventure that probably most of us wouldn’t even think of attempting. The events that unfolded over time weren’t all in his control. Let’s not condemn all people in our history and in our present for some things they do or did badly. Can’t we ever learn to look for the good in people and their good contributions and accept that we are all humans with warts. Let’s not be the first to cast the stone!

    • Dear Joan,
      I understand your feeling would be hurt from this name change as you believe it would be erasing history. I don’t see it as erasing history or that it would somehow diminish Italians.
      It would in fact be acknowledging the history of the people who are original to the area. I don’t believe Christopher Columbus was native to this area.

  3. Please rename the Delta. From primary sources:

    “They…brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned…They were well built, with good bodies and handsome features…They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
    Columbus, describing his first encounter with Native Americans

    • Bill:

      While I am not for change -if- the Council allows it, your suggestion is appropriate. Mr. Driscoll would be deserving of such.

      But I’m afraid she who proposes the change will have none of it, as an American Indian name would be her choice, and naming the Delta after another white male would be anathema. If so, may I suggest Elizabeth Warren?

  4. This is all very silly and entertaining. Thanks to everyone for giving me a good laugh today, I really appreciate it!

  5. How about the Pequossette Delta in a nod to the very beginning of our town? It’s even on the town insignia.

  6. We have seen statues of Lincoln, Washington and Columbus torn down. Now, we have a minority of vocal citizens who want to cancel anything they deem to be against their moral code and tell everyone that we should agree, or we are the bad guy. This so-called “cancel culture” wants to erase all history, good or bad, to fit their own idea of inclusive and diverse opinion they truly believe is best for everyone. Recently, we have seen a church in Cambridge set on fire, along with a rise in anti-Semitic crimes, what’s next, perhaps cancel Jesus, or anything that upsets the few who hate everything. We learn from all history, so leave it at that.

    • Dear Johnny,
      The renaming is the opposite of cancel culture.
      As I understand it, it is to include an acknowledgement to the originals of the area.
      Your extending this to a fire at a church in Cambridge, the removal of a Lincoln and Washington statues (which is all news to me) has nothing to do with the situation at hand.
      There is no grand conspiracy here (sorry to spoil the fun of people who like to deal in such play).

    • Those who want the name change for it to be “inclusive” should go and find a place of their own to do so. But Columbus, a white Catholic male, is an irresistible target to the woke crowd. If the Delta would have been named after a pagan deity, the woke ones would have left it alone. Time to gather 1,000 plus signatures to put this to a referendum, as I suspect the City will approve the change based on the thorough Wikipedia research presented by the Committee. Really.

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