Council Pays Tribute to Former Cable Executive Director

WCA-TVHelen Chatel leaves Watertown Cable Access Television after 9.5 years as executive director. The City Council thanked former Watertown Cable Executive Director Helen Chatel for her work at the local cable access station, especially he role in helping Watertown’s government keep holding meetings during the pandemic. City Council President Mark Sideris personally thanked Chatel at the Sept. 29 meeting. “Helen was extremely, extremely helpful, and helped us get through COVID and issues with the Zoom and I can’t thank her enough for everything she has done to get us to the place where we are with technology and cable access,” Sideris said.

City May Change Rules for Demolishing Historic Buildings

A City Council Committee has started looking at doubling the maximum delay for demolition of a historic home or building, but also to remove many properties from consideration for the demo delays. The Historical Commission can put a delay on demolishing homes and buildings that have historic significance in an effort to find a way to preserve them, including finding a person or group to buy it and save it. The Commission can prevent a structure from being demolished. The current maximum delay is 12 months. Currently, projects that must be heard by the Historical Commission include any building 50 years old or older.

Council Approves Funds for Highland Ave. Repaving, Numbers Higher Than Planned

The City Council approved funds to repave and install new sidewalks on Highland Avenue, but the project will cost more than originally anticipated. The total cost of the project will be $2.96 million for the project that also includes Chapman Street, said City Manager George Proakis, and $2 million will come from the loan order approved by the Council Tuesday night. The remaining funds will come from other Department of Public Works accounts. The loan is more than previous years for similar projects on longer roads in Watertown. “I recommend putting $2 million toward that this year, where we originally talked about $1.5 million,” Proakis said.

LETTER: Council Should Reject Proposal to Allow Large Illuminated Sign at Arsenal Yards

Our City Council will soon vote on a proposal to allow a large, illuminated sign for Arsenal Yards – effectively a glowing billboard with ten-foot tall letters – to shine from atop the 130-foot high-rise tower looming over the Charles River, its park and paths. The proposal was written by the developer of Arsenal Yards. If the proposal passes, the Planning Board will be poised to give the developer a permit for the sign. Allowing the amendment and the sign would be a tragic mistake. The path of the Charles River through Watertown is widely known as a rare urban gem.