Jessica Middlebrook announced her run for School Committee. She is shown with her two daughters at Watertown Town Hall. My name is Jessica Middlebrook and I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for Watertown School Committee. In the wake of the most disruptive and painful school year in living memory, our community needs experienced, empathic leaders who will build connections, foster difficult but important conversations, and work toward creating equitable school cultures where all students feel valued and safe. With my experience as a parent and school mental health professional, my strong progressive values, and my abiding love for our community, I know that I can help our schools work better for all our kids and families.
My husband, David, and I have been residents of Watertown for the past 12 years. We were drawn here to start our family because of its diversity and caring, engaged community.
We would like to voice our support for the modification of the Masterplan for the Arsenal on the Charles site which was submitted by Alexandria Real Estate (ARE) to the planning Board on June 9th.
For many reasons, we believe that the ARE submission is far superior to the current Master Plan.
The proposal brings economic development that is consistent with Watertown’s comprehensive plan, bringing excellent job opportunities in growing fields. It features state of the art carbon reduction strategies for its buildings, aggressive targets for reducing its overall carbon footprint and increased publicly accessible open space.
ARE has previously worked in Watertown and has a demonstrated track record as a developer that engages with neighbors and contributes to the community. Responding to citizen concerns, ARE modified its earlier landscaping plan to address the community’s recognition of the importance of trees for a healthy environment. The plan that was presented to the Planning Board calls for 129 more trees than are currently on the site. ARE has developed a comprehensive plan that will maintain more of the larger trees on the site, transplant some existing trees to new locations and plant many new trees, paying careful attention to selecting species most suited to the Intended use. We have seen many transformations of the Watertown Arsenal over the years. The community had important feedback for ARE. The developer listened and responded, leading to an excellent proposal for a sustainable and attractive project that will make the thriving Arsenal property even better than it is today.
It has recently been brought to my attention that campaign literature is being disseminated with text that could be misleading. Certainly, everyone is entitled to voice their opinion. But, when my name, and the position that I have held with great honor for sixteen years are the topic; I will not allow anyone to compare my performance, versus theirs. I am not flattered. Although I understand Mr. Michael Hanlon’s desire to show the perception of following in my path of District A, East End, Town Council representation; I have not consented to the use of my name in any political literature.
Samatha Rao VuppalaShade trees in the Arsenal on the Charles complex. (The following piece was submitted by Sharon Bromberg-Lim, a member of Trees for Watertown)
A large real estate equities firm arrives in a small New England town. Based in California, the firm has rolled into many towns before, bought up properties big and small, and plunked down buildings. This project is just one of many investments that the firm owns. The firm says it must cut down more than 200 trees to put up its buildings.
We are writing to express our strong support for moving forward with plans to build a new high school in Watertown — including a temporary high school on Moxley Field while the new high school is under construction. We are in dire need of a new high school—parts of the current building were constructed in 1925 and 1950! The old age and dated design of the building significantly restricts the educational programs available to our students. In 2016, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the school accreditation agency, put Watertown on warning because of the poor conditions of our high school. It is imperative that we get a new high school built and in use as soon as possible for the benefit of our students.
The following letter was originally sent to Watertown Public Schools officials:
How many students will be in the swing space high school while construction is going on of the new high school? How many students can the soon to be old Hosmer School hold? Portable classrooms can be placed on the Chauncey St. side of the Hosmer to handle the needed classroom and other activities needed to keep grades 9 to 12 together. I would think this arrangement would still save the town many millions of dollars.
My name is Robin Abbott and I am the President of the Department of Massachusetts/Rhode Island American Gold Star Mothers. I write to express my deep sadness and anger that Moxley park and field is being considered for your swing space project. As an American Gold Star Mother, we devote what is left of our broken lives strengthening one another and working to ensure the memory of all veterans is never forgotten. You have no idea how painstaking it is to try to have a bridge or corner block, let alone a park, memorialized to the fallen. It takes an actual act of congress.
I am writing to you about the use of Moxley Field as a location for a temporary high school while a new state of the art high school is built for the kids of Watertown. Moxley Field is named after my uncle, PFC Richard Stephen Moxley. All of Richie’s immediate family have passed away, and I wanted to reach out to you before a final decision is made. Growing up in Watertown after his death, most people I met would mention Uncle Richie fondly and share how they had known him or grown up with him. Moxley Field is a dedicated reminder of his ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War, and the sacrifices of others.
As WPS parents, We are writing in support of the proposal to build a new WHS on its current site and to use a section of Moxley Park as swing space during construction. There are many important reasons for this choice: this proposal will provide the best possible educational experience for students during construction; it will minimize the construction timeline; it will create the space needed to build a state-of-the-art, 21st Century high school for Watertown; and, it will reduce overall project costs. This investment requires temporary sacrifices from abutters, students and families. We are all sharing this burden, but the benefits far outweigh the temporary inconveniences. This project will benefit the entire Watertown community for generations to come.