Last year there was a lot of confusion on Election Day at the polls because of a Massachusetts Statute. In Watertown, many enrolled voters were marked “INACTIVE” including State Rep. Lawn. In Massachusetts, when you do not send back the city/town census, you are marked “INACTIVE” on the election roll. However, many Watertown voters did send back the city census, but the business vendor sent them to the wrong place. City Hall did not receive them. What does it mean if you are marked “INACTIVE”? It means you are an enrolled voter! It means you can vote!
A rendering of the building at 10-30 Manley Way proposed to be redeveloped into lab/R&D/non-nuisance manufacturing space. (The Seyon Group)
This letter is about 10-30 Manley Way, but humor me, please, while I get there. With at least 25 bio lab buildings and more on the way in a four square mile area, (Alexandria hasn’t even begun the massive transformation of the Watertown Mall yet).
Here’s a list of just Alexandria’s current holdings in Watertown:
I hear they have their eyes on more Watertown land. Alexandriatown … how does that sound to you?
This is a case of being careful about what you wish for. We have about 70 labs in these buildings so far. There’s plenty of unused lab space without converting one more inch into labs … just my opinion, but it seems to be shared by others.
To give you an example of the enormity of these projects (besides the in-your-face street presentation of them … hello, Galen Street), there’s a permit meeting for a Coolidge Street lab this month to approve a 7,000 gallon oil tank on the roof of a parking garage that will hold 497 cars.
It’s becoming harder and harder to remain a member of this community.
Every year, rising rents force more working families out while middle class and even affluent neighbors can’t afford to purchase a home, nevermind expand their families. Those looking to downsize after retirement, or hoping to age with dignity in the city they love, can’t find homes that work for them. Young people driven away, families in financial distress, longtime residents exiled from their hometown: this is the face of the housing crisis in Watertown. It is a dilemma that threatens our well-being, economic futures, and our community. It is also a challenge that we can rise to overcome, together.
A stop sign installed next to Bemis Park. (Courtesy of Mark Pickering)
Letter To the Editor,
Baseball season and ongoing road work where I live all reminds me of what a great job that the City of Watertown did around Bemis Park. That included the repaving of streets around there. I know Bemis from attending Little League games there and using the playground with my daughter, now 7 years old. The park is at the busy corner of Waltham and Bridge streets.
So … is a Watertown City Council meeting hearing worth attending? I attended one last night on zoom … a shoutout to citizens who sat through it all for hours in real time in the Council Chambers. So, is it a “done deal” by the time it gets to the hearing? Hmmm … It was all about a move by the Historic Commission to streamline its process. Not a bad idea.
At 51 Water St., just across the river from downtown Watertown, several local services have been available to the Watertown community, including a large adult day care service and, notably, the Community Rehab Care group. (For orientation, 51 Water St. is the area facing Nonantum Road, behind the bus turn-around and near the MBTA lots.)
Community Rehab Care provides (in their own words): “community-based outpatient rehabilitation and support services to adults and children with neurologic, musculoskeletal, or orthopedic injuries or illnesses.” That covers everyone from children to adults to elderly, who must deal with anything from serious car, sports, or other accidents, to strokes, brain-surgery, post-cancer or post-Covid problems — and much else. As I know from personal experience, the professionals there are dedicated, very busy, and relatively convenient for Watertown residents who need their help. But very unfortunately, the part about convenience is about to change, quite a bit. Up to this past year, relatively easy access to 51 Water St. was possible, though not without a quirk or two having to do with traffic and lane closures on Galen and blockage on Water St.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 1884 of Watertown, Courtesy of the Library of Congress. By Linda ScottWatertown Resident
Well, I guess it’s time to do my version of that famous Joni Mitchell song. “Big Yellow Taxi.” You really don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. You can thank a Watertown News reader for this article.
My nightmare came to pass Friday evening. A fire truck, lights flashing, was unable to pass down Hall Avenue because of parked cars. In the event, there appeared to be no active fire emergency, but what if there had been? I have lived on Fairview Avenue for 26 years, and every summer, I decry the slalom course that our neighborhood becomes, as people park their oversized vehicles (poorly sometimes) on both sides of narrow streets. I have long said that a fire truck would not be able to reach a burning building, and evidently I was right. I implore the City to initiate one-side-of-the-street-only parking, as is the case in some parts of Waltham. Surely all these cars, which manage to find places to park during the winter full ban, can find places in the summer as well. And we will not have to worry that emergency vehicles cannot reach us when we need them. Ilana HardestyFairview Avenue
Letters to the Editor can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org