Meetings Wednesday on High School Project, Renovation of Arsenal Park

An illustration presented in February of how Watertown High School could be built on both sides of Common Street. Two meetings will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, June 3. The Watertown School Building Committee (starting at 6 p.m) will hear a presentation about the latest design possibilities for the new Watertown High School, while the Conservation Commission (beginning at 7 p.m.) will hear about the second phase of the Arsenal Park renovation. High School Meeting

The School Building Committee will hear from architects from Ai3 about the progress of designs for the project, which could either go on the current site or on part of the Victory Field complex. They will also discuss upcoming forums about the project.

Watertown Group Discussing “Biodiversity for a Livable Climate” at Monthly Meeting

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

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment will hold our May Monthly Meeting via Zoom on Thursday, May 21, at 7 PM. All are welcome. Biodiversity for a Livable Climate is the topic of our meeting.  Our speakers will be:

Adam Sacks, Executive Director, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate. He will discuss the importance of biodiversity and the power of eco-restoration in different habitats and the challenges of thinking differently in a world that is increasingly unfamiliar. He will also cover the need to shift from a carbon-centered to a biodiversity-centered perspective, the building of a global movement called “Blessed Unrest,” and Adam’s experiences as an activist in eco-restoration and climate over the past 20 years.

A Self-Guided Stormwater Walk Designed by a River Conservation Group

A self-guided tour of Watertown’s stormwater drainage system will show people how rain water gets from the streets to the Charles River. The walk features some of the stormwater devices you can see on the street that you would recognize, such as a catch basin, and some that are not as obvious, like a bioswale. There are also parts of the stormwater system where the water enters the river. The Watertown Department of Public Works collaborated with the Mystic River Watershed Association to create the tour, said Town Engineer Matthew Shuman. “Here’s some great activities we put together with the Mystic River Watershed Association for kids and adults to do to get some fresh air during these trying times … go for a stormwater walk,” Shuman said.

Watertown’s Hidden Wetlands Could be Possible Community Preservation Projects

Walker’s Pond, on the Westside of Watertown, is one of the town’s hidden wetlands and a possible place for the Community Preservation Funds to be spent. With “water” such a prominent part of the name of the town, one might expect it to be flush with wetlands. The Charles River, of course, is Watertown’s most significant body of water, but there are several others that are not as visible. Some can be seen from roadways around town, if you know where to look, others are tucked into the woods, and a number are surrounded by graves. Leo Martin, chair of the Town Conservation Commission recently took Watertown News on a tour of the town’s wetlands.

OP-ED: Details of Mass. Senate’s Climate Change Bills

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, who represents Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston:

The Senate Ways and Means Committee just released a bold, thoughtful and comprehensive package of bills designed to accelerate our move away from fossil fuels. The package is being well-received by many environmental leaders and I look forward to voting for it very soon. Back in 2008, I had a hand in passing the Global Warming Solutions Act which set the state on a course to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The present package recognizes the latest science and amends the GWSA to set a stronger long-term target – net zero emissions in 2050. 

The package makes the planning process stronger by making the emission reduction targets more detailed: It requires definition of stringent short and medium term targets for each sector of the economy.  It also requires more timely reporting on progress. The package mandates that the Secretary of Environmental Affairs implement “market based compliance mechanisms” to achieve emission reduction goals. “Market based compliance mechanisms” include carbon fees and cap-and-trade systems that put a price on carbon emissions. Most economists believe that this is the most effective kind of approach to transforming our economy – letting people and businesses make their own price-informed choices in the market as to how to reduce emissions.

Recycle Your Styrofoam at the Watertown DPW Event

Recycle your Styrofoam at the special DPW event. Just in time for the post-holiday cleanup, the Watertown Department of Public Works will host a styrofoam recycling event. Watertown residents will will also have a chance to shred paper and to get rid of tires (no rims). I.D. will be required. It is not open to businesses or commercial entities.

School Building Committee Looking at Costs of Creating Net Zero Energy Schools

An example of a rack that holds photo voltaic panels. Similar racks are planned to go in the parking lots of Hosmer and Cunniff schools in an effort to generate electricity. Architects designing Watertown’s new elementary schools are searching for enough space to place solar panels to make them net zero energy schools, however the biggest challenge to meeting the energy efficiency mark could be the project budget. Scott Dunlap, project architect for the three elementary school projects, showed the School Building Committee plans for Hosmer to place enough photo voltaic panels to cover the school’s energy use, while at Cunniff architects still need to find space for more panels. Lowell School will be renovated, so designers are not seeking to make the school net zero.

NewRep’s “Oliver!” Features Actor with Watertown Ties

Andy Papas, who has ties to Watertown, makes his New Rep Theatre debut in the current production of “Oliver!” Andy Papas has starred on stages across the country, but the actor and singer will be making his debut in the town where his family has made a name in a different arena. Papas will play Mr. Bumble in the New Rep’s production of Oliver! The play started its run Monday, and will be on the Mosesian Center for the Arts’ MainStage through the end of December. Papas grew up in Winchester, but his father, grandfather and uncle are from Watertown and were famed for their accomplishments on the football field.