Council to Hear from Public on How to Spend Watertown’s Federal ARPA Funds

Watertown City Hall

The City of Watertown will receive $10.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, and next week the City Council will host a meeting to hear from residents about how they would like to see the money spent. The Council’s Committee on Budget & Fiscal Oversight will hold the meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in City Hall and there will be a remote option. Meeting information and the remote link will be posted here. Watertown must have a final plan for where the ARPA funds will be spent by Dec.

U.S. Rep Clark Presents Watertown with $240K for Project to Protect River, Increase Climate Resiliency

Charlie BreitroseCongresswoman Catherine Clark looks on as Watertown City Manager George Proakis speaks about the $240,000 in federal funds to build stormwater tree trenches in town. Congresswoman Katherine Clark visited City Hall Monday to announce $240,000 in federal funding for a climate-related project in Watertown. The City will use the money to install 15 tree trenches designed to remove pollutants from the Charles River and cool temperatures by providing more trees on City streets. The Department of Public Works applied for the money after hearing about the funding, said Watertown DPW Superintendent Greg St. Louis.

Watertown Group Hosting City Chat on Using Federal ARPA Funds

The following announcement was provided by Watertown Forward:

Watertown Forward is very excited to present its next City Chat on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Watertown has a once in a life time opportunity to spend $10.5 million on projects that are within the federal guidelines in the ARPA. The City Chat will take place on this coming Sunday, January 22 at 4:30 p.m. It will be a Zoom meeting. Here is the link to the meeting. We promise that you will walk away with important information about the funds, how they can be used, and how your ideas can be considered by the City.

Watertown One of First Communities to Adopt Energy Efficient Construction Requirement

With the City Council’s adoption of the state’s Specialized Stretch Code, Watertown became one of the first communities to adopt the code and continued efforts to make buildings in the community energy efficient. The Council had already adopted the Massachusetts Stretch Code, but communities have to separately adopt the Specialized Stretch Code, which calls for net-zero energy buildings by 2050. The code applies only to new construction. Adopting the Specialized Stretch Code is another step in the direction that the City has been heading toward energy efficiency, Council President Mark Sideris said before the Council’s unanimous vote. “I think this is consistent with what this City Council has been doing, from solar arrays on roofs and hybrid vehicles in our fleet when possible and net zero schools,” Sideris said.

City Will Discuss MBTA’s Multi-Family Zone as Part of Watertown Square Improvements

Watertown City Hall

Discussions about how Watertown will meet the state’s requirement to allow multi-family housing in certain areas of town will be included in the City’s planning for improving Watertown Square. Discussions about the Square will begin later this year. On Tuesday night, The City Council heard an update on the multi-family zoning, which requires communities served by the MTBA to create an area where multi-family housing would be allowed by-right, and therefore would not need special approval from the Planning or Zoning boards if they fall within the city’s zoning requirements. When the state first released the requirements, they called for Watertown’s multi-family zone to be near the Waverley Commuter Rail station in Belmont. The Council objected, however, because the area would be in the middle of a section of town zoned for single-family homes.

State Giving Watertown Nearly $1 Million for Community Preservation

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

Watertown’s Community Preservation Committee is pleased to announce that the Commonwealth has released $203,645 more to Watertown’s Community Preservation Fund, bringing the total annual state match to $956,905 for our City. These resources are a supplemental distribution from $20 million in state surplus funds for Community Preservation Act (CPA) communities in fiscal year 2022. State matching funds come from fees assessed on certain real estate transactions through the registration of deeds. For the past fiscal year, the state match equaled 38.5 percent of the CPA funds raised locally. Mark Kraczkiewicz, current chair of the CPC, said, “These matching state funds of nearly a million dollars confirm the wisdom of Watertown voters when they adopted the CPC.

Council Approves Millions for Easements for Mt. Auburn St. Project, State Still Has Not Released Comments on Plans

The $30 million Mt. Auburn Street reconstruction project will likely go out to bid at the end of 2023, and the 75 percent plans will soon be submitted. City officials, however, are still waiting for the state to release the public comments from the 25 percent designs submitted back in 2018. The project will be paid for by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) using federal transportation funding, but the design occurs at the local level, said Watertown Public Works Superintendent Greg St. Louis.

Watertown City Manager Holding Meet & Greet in District A

Watertown City Manager will be available to speak with the public during an event focusing on District A in the East End of Watertown on Jan. 18. A similar meeting was previously held in District D in November. The City of Watertown sent out the following announcement:

Please join us at the District A Meet and Greet with City Manager George Proakis on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Hosmer School Cafeteria, 1 Concord Road, Watertown, MA.