OP-ED: Watertown Square Plan — A Broader Perspective

By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

I was driving through Forest Hills recently and stopped to take a few pictures of new buildings. Here is the front of the property. As you can see, this yellow and gray building appears to be six stories. Also note that there are step backs and blocks of color to produce the “visual interest” that was mentioned at our meeting. Photo by Linda Scott

I drove up the small street in back of it, and here it borders a small one and two family neighborhood with a mix of one and two storied homes.

Watertown Group Hosting Event Called “Ireland and Palestine: Occupation, Resistance, Hope”

The following announcement was provided by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment:

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment will sponsor a lecture and dialogue entitled, “Ireland and Palestine: Occupation, Resistance, Hope” featuring Paul Pelan, Professor at Boston University and native of Belfast and Souhad Zendah, Professor at Tufts University and native of Gaza. WHEN: Sunday, April 14, 5 p.m.

WHERE: Church of the Good Shepherd, 9 Russell Ave. For more info: watertowncitizens@gmail.com

LETTER: Embrace the Opportunity to Revitalize Watertown Square

Watertown Square needs an overhaul. For the almost 50 years, I have lived here, Watertown Square has been in decline. There is the Library, the Farmer’s Market, festivals, and a succession of destination restaurants that hint at the town center it could be. But it needs more. 

To thrive as a commercial district, Watertown Square needs to fill its storefronts and spaces with a variety of businesses, services, and venues for all times of day at a scale that requires lots more people and foot traffic. The MBTA Communities Act has given us an opportunity to plan for more people at the same time we plan for a more vibrant, livable and walkable city center. 

I had the experience just a few years ago of knocking on doors all over Watertown for the Community Preservation Act. I heard over and over again that housing was the most pressing concern – even from those who seemed well housed. I know that most of the people with whom I had front door conversations are not going to make the WS meetings or find their way to the many portals for comments. But I feel a responsibility to speak up for them and to bring the depth and breadth of this need to the discussion. From my perspective planning for more housing, more pedestrians, bicycling, and transit and a better balance with cars and the natural environment are the keys to a Watertown Square rebirth. I have spoken up at public meetings over developments and city projects for decades. I have experienced being shut out and shut down. The Watertown Square planning process has been different. I have felt listened to and respected as I never have before. 

In turn, I have experienced a new appreciation for the many moving parts of any plan, the expertise that is being brought to bear and the difficult trade-offs and balances. There are lots of areas around design and balance to be discussed and debated, but let’s keep our eyes on the promising vision.

OP-ED: The Watertown Square Area Zoning Proposal is Out — What’s Next?

A diagram of the proposed by-right housing zoning in Watertown Square to meet the MBTA Communities Law requirement. The by-right areas are outlined in a dark dashed line. (Courtesy of City of Watertown)

I’m filling out my “Very important Paper.” This is what I’m Considering. [EDITOR’s NOTE: The plans and ideas for Watertown Square presented at the April 6 meeting and discussed in this piece are conceptual, have not yet been approved, and if they are do not necessarily mean that they will become a reality]. By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

First, I’d like to thank City Manager George Proakis and his team for all of their efforts for the April 4th meeting.

Watertown Boys & Girls Club Announces 2024 Youth of the Year Winner

The Watertown Boys & Girls Club’s Youth of the Year for 2024, Yazmin Ramirez Arias. (Courtesy Photo)

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Boys & Girls Club:

The Watertown Boys & Girls Club held their Annual “Rising Stars” Youth of the Year Awards Celebration on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in the Club’s gymnasium. Three highly qualified Club Member were nominated as a result of their service at the Club and further in the community. Yazmin Ramirez Arias was named the Watertown Boys & Girls Club “Youth of the Year.”

In this Leadership Development Program, Club Members nominated by Club Staff are prompted to write a “Club Experience” Essay that shares their achievements and why they personally believe they should be named “Youth of the Year.” They present this essay to local judges who collectively decide the top candidate. The top chosen candidate and Official “Youth of the Year” will represent The Watertown Boys & Girls Club and qualify for the next step to compete at the State Event for the title of Massachusetts Youth of the Year on May 7, 2024 at Gillette Stadium.

Volunteers Wanted to Help With 40th Annual Run of the Charles Race

The following information was provided by the Run of the Charles:

Nearly 150 volunteers are needed to help set up the race, check in paddlers, direct boat traffic through portages, check boat numbers, post results and take care of all the other details that make the Run of the Charles such a success each year! We are most in need of volunteers for:

Moody Street Dam, Waltham (Approx. 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM) check-in for Relay leg 2 and portage 1

Bleachery Dam, Waltham (Approx. 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM) portage 2

Watertown Dam, Watertown (Approx. 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM) portage 3, check-in for Relay leg 3

Watertown Bridge, Watertown (Approx.