Watertown Appoints New Director of Health Department

The following announcement came from the City of Watertown:

Congratulations to Abbey Myers, the City of Watertown’s new permanent Director of Public Health, effective, Monday, February 5, 2024. Abbey has been a key member of the Health Department’s staff since she was hired, providing customer service while coordinating many aspects of public health, from updating our COVID policy, to attending emergency management training, building our new rodent policy, establishing better rules for dumpsters, and catching bats (yes . . . bats!). 

She stepped up into the Interim Director role, in August of 2023, where she has served the public well, staffing the Board of Health meetings, managing the Health Department staff, and organizing the Department’s move to the Parker Annex last week.

LETTER: Questions About New Position on Traffic Commission

By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

Democracy?  I know you’re out there somewhere…

This is not a letter that I could even imagine having to write, but here goes. When I looked at Tuesday night’s agenda for the City Council meeting, I noticed an unusual item. Then I started getting phone calls. Other people were curious about this item as well. So I got curious. Why would there be a sudden change to the structure of the Traffic Commission without any visible input from them?

Replacing Watertown Senior Center Included in City’s 5-Year Capital Plan

Courtesy of the City of WatertownThe City’s Capital Improvement Plan includes replacing the Watertown Senior Center. Building a new Senior Center made the list of projects planned to be undertaken by the City of Watertown over the next five years, Watertown City Manager George Proakis at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Proakis presented the Fiscal Year 2025-29 Capital Improvement Plan, which includes $210 million of projects with $93 million of general obligation bonds to cover part of the cost. Senior Center

The City explored replacing the Senior Center in 2022 as part of a review of the Phillips Building site. That study by Ai3 Architects, done during the planning for the new Watertown High School, looked at tearing down the former Phillips School, but Proakis said that would be too disruptive for the Watertown Public Schools administration, as well as Watertown Cable that now resides in the basement.

Watertown Hires Familiar Face to be New City Clerk

Noelle Gilligan, right, has been named Watertown’s City Clerk. Here she gave the oath to the School Committee members, from left, Rachel Kay, Kendra Foley, and Lisa Capoccia, when Gilligan was the interim clerk. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

The City of Watertown sent out the following announcement:

Congratulations to Noelle Gilligan, who has been appointed and sworn in as Watertown’s new City Clerk, effective today, Monday, January 22, 2024. Noelle has been a key member of the Clerk’s Office staff for five years, providing customer service while coordinating many aspects of licensing and elections, first working with City Clerk, John Flynn, and then with Janet Murphy, who recently left the office. Noelle stepped up into the new Deputy Clerk role, and quickly hit the ground running when it came time to become Acting City Clerk, organizing important documents, and leading an effective city election this past November.

Sen. Brownsberger Seeks Input Through Online Gun Survey

Wikimedia Commons / ChensiyuanMassachusetts State House. With the Massachusetts State Senate State to soon be taking up legislation on guns and firearms, Sen. Will Brownsberger seeks input via an online survey. Sen. Brownsberger sent out the following announcement:

Please take a few minutes to complete my survey on guns. The survey asks 26 true-false questions about feelings, opinions, and factual understandings on guns, gun violence, and gun laws. The survey is anonymous. We will be debating gun legislation in the senate sometime soon and I will also be inviting you to an open dialog about gun policy within the next week or two.  This survey will help define context for that dialog.  Your survey participation is important to me whether or not you plan to participate in that dialog.

Watertown Health Department Moving to New Location

As part of a plan to reorganize Watertown’s municipal departments, the Health Department will be moving out of City Hall. The Health Department will be one of the departments moving south of the Charles River to the Parker Annex building, formerly the Parker School. The City of Watertown provided the following announcement:

The Watertown Health Department is moving on February 1, 2024 to the Parker Annex at 124 Watertown Street, 3G, Watertown, MA 02472. They will still have the same phone number of 617-972-6446, all of the same contact information, and the same webpage. See the google map and get directions.

Watertown Community Preservation Program’s Current Projects, Reviewing Applications

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.

This Week: Council Considering Snow Shoveling Requirement, Project at Former Cannistraro Site

A rendering of the proposed life science project at former Cannistraro property on Pleasant Street, Rosedale Road, and Acton Street. (Courtesy of Broder)

The City Council will be considering a requirement for residents to shovel sidewalks on Tuesday night, and Wednesday the Planning Board will hear the proposal for a biotech campus on Pleasant Street. The City Council’s agenda includes the amendment to the Snow and Ice Removal Ordinance that would require sidewalks in front of residential properties to be cleared within 24 hours of the end of a storm. The first violation would get a written warning, the second faces at $50 fine and third and later in one winter would get a $100 fine. There are exceptions for people “who are unable to meet the physical requirements of this section, particularly for low-income, elderly, or disabled residents, or for other unusual circumstances.”

The Council meets on Tuesday, Jan.