Watertown Community Preservation Program’s Current Projects, Reviewing Applications

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The following announcement was provided by the Community Preservation Committee:

The Community Preservation Program is approaching its fifth year of operation. Since the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) adopted the Community Preservation Act Five-year Plan 2021-2025, the CPC has conducted two complete funding rounds. This year, the CPC celebrated the completion of the program’s first two projects. Irving Park got revamped using $372,606 in outdoor recreation funds and the Edmund Fowle House saw its deteriorated wooden gutters replaced using $47,177 in historic preservation funds. While Irving Park is city-owned, the Fowle House Museum, listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, and built in 1772, is owned and operated by the Historical Society of Watertown.

Irving Park is located off of Arsenal Street between Irving and Royal Streets. Though the park was long beloved by neighbors, it looked a bit forlorn before accessible paths, new benches, perennial plant beds, trees, and accent fencing were installed during last spring and summer.

The Edmund Fowle House gutter replacement project was finished in November of 2023. CPA funds were used to exchange rotted wooden gutters for fiberglass ones and to replace deteriorated fascia boards as well as other wood features and clapboard as needed. The new fiberglass gutters have an expected useful life of 40 years beyond the lifespan of traditional wooden gutters and carry a greater volume of stormwater. These upgrades should preserve the integrity of the building for many years to come.

Notably, the Historical Society of Watertown is managing two other CPA projects. Those projects involve municipal property. Joyce Kelly of the Historical Society has been masterfully juggling the project management of both. One is underway to restore two large paintings that were in the lobby of City Hall. The other project will result in masterplans for the Old Burying Ground and Common Street Cemeteries. Stay tuned for updates and images from Louise Orsini, the paintings conservator, in the coming months. The Community Preservation Committee also looks forward to the recommendations and priorities proposed by Ray Dunetz, the landscape architect overseeing the cemeteries project.

This winter marks the next phase of the Community Preservation program’s third round of funding and provides another opportunity for the public to learn more about the current CPA applications.

On Thursday, January 16th at 7 p.m., the CPC will hear project presentations from the Department of Community Development and Planning (DCDP) and the Department of Public Works (DPW), describing their open space and outdoor recreation project applications. DCDP requests $94,000 to develop a conceptual design for Walker Pond and DPW requests $2,013,375 to rehabilitate Saltonstall Park.

On Thursday, February 1st at 7 p.m., the CPC will host project presentations for two historic preservation projects. Historic New England requests $7,250 for a structural engineering study to develop the plans and specifications needed to repair rare seventeenth century styled beam framing in the Browne House. The Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery requests $300,000 to restore the Scots Charitable Lot Fence located in the cemetery.

The full applications may be viewed on the CPC webpage. CPA Project Applications | Watertown, MA – Official Website. Join project presentations using the following link: https://watertown-ma.zoom.us/j/91525442843

Contact Lanae Handy, Community Preservation Coordinator, with questions or visit Community Preservation Committee | Watertown, MA – Official Website for more information about the Community Preservation Program and the CPC.

2 thoughts on “Watertown Community Preservation Program’s Current Projects, Reviewing Applications

  1. Why would Watertown agree to allocate $300,000 to repair the gate at Mt. Auburn Cemetery. They have a huge endowment fund and most of their land is in Cambridge.
    The other projects seem to be reasonable projects to fund.

    • The Mount Auburn Cemetery request, if funded, would be a perfect example of robbing the poor to give to the rich. The cemetery has a huge endowment indeed and a very rich fund raising base. They can easily get the money elsewhere.

      In terms of preservation needs, Watertown has been under resourced for decades. The funds are desperately needed elsewhere. It would be wrong to take money from Watertown tax payers and give it to an organization that can easily acquire it elsewhere.

      Also the Cemetery played a role in the destruction of the Shick house, which was a monumental preservation loss. The house deteriorated greatly under the cemetery’s ownership and eventually was torn down. For this reason also, Mount Auburn Cemetery does not deserve Watertown preservation funds.

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