Town Council Clears Way for Sale of Former East Branch Library

After many years of trying to lease the former East Branch Library, the Town Council voted Tuesday night to seek proposals to sell the property on Mt. Auburn Street. The vote was 8-1 to approve seeking proposals, with Councilor Michael Dattoli voting against the proposal. The minimum bid would be $1 million, said Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon. For some Councilors, the decision was a reversal of what they had pushed for before.

LETTER: Resident Urges Town Not to Sell Old Police Station, Branch Libraries

Dear Councilors,

At a time when our town is being given over to development, it should have become very clear to you by now that citizens want you to maintain some of Watertown’s distinctive buildings and lifestyle. It has come to my attention that the town is considering selling off more of our property. I am writing to urge you: Do not sell the old police station or the branch libraries, or any other properties belonging to the people of Watertown. These properties were meant to be used for our benefit. I am hoping you will begin thinking outside the box about new uses for these buildings.

LETTER: Council Candidate’s Ideas for Unused Branch Libraries

Watertown’s two branch libraries have been vacant since closing in 2006.  During the past decade, two separate re-use committees have struggled to find appropriate utilization for the decaying buildings. Any re-use of either branch library will require heavy reconstruction, and costs for proposed uses by outside groups have been estimated to exceed the return on investment. Some have indicated that selling one or both of these buildings is the only solution, while others point to the former Parker School as a reason to maintain ownership. Along with the former Police Station building, I believe that Watertown has the potential for an innovative approach to managing and revitalizing these vacant sites, which takes into account other challenges our local economy is already confronted with. For example, re-use should address job creation, the rise in out-of-district educational costs, and attempt to make health care costs more affordable.