Restoration Underway for Historic Paintings from Watertown’s City Hall

1930 geographical painting on treatment table at studio, in bottom section of its foam-core box. (Courtesy of the Historical Society of Watertown)

A group from Watertown recently visited the studio of the art restoration specialist hired to refurbish historic paintings that normally hang in the main entryway in Watertown’s City Hall. Joyce Kelly of the Historical Society of Watertown provided the following account:

The geographical paintings that usually flank the foyer at the main entrance to City Hall are currently in the studio of conservator Louise Orsini being refurbished. In 2022, the Historical Society of Watertown received a grant from the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for the conservation of the two geographical paintings in the foyer of City Hall. The 5.5 x 7.5 foot paintings were installed when the building opened in 1932.

Funds for Walker Pond Planning Study Recommended by Community Preservation Committee

Photo by Leo MartinWalker Pond, on the Westside of Watertown, is one of the town’s hidden wetlands and a the Community Preservation Committee recommended funds be spent to do a study for improving the property. The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Community Preservation Committee:

The Watertown Community Preservation Committee voted at its Feb. 15 meeting to recommend to the City Council that it fund Walker Pond planning studies and a public engagement process to develop a master plan for use of the site. The 7 acre Walker Pond site was purchased by the city in December 2022. The City’s Department of Community Development and Planning (DCDP) requested use of Community Preservation Act (CPA) monies for this first phase of creating a new park.

LETTER: Walker Pond is an Opportunity to Embrace Nature

Photo by Leo MartinWalker’s Pond, on the Westside of Watertown. By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

Thoughts on Walker Pond

“So ring the bells that still can ringForget your perfect offeringThere is a crack in everythingThat’s how the light gets in.”

— Leonard Cohen

I was reminded of this Leonard Cohen song while watching the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) meeting on January 18th. One of the projects being discussed was Walker Pond, a property that Watertown purchased for over $11 million as a sort of “Jewel in the Crown” for Watertown, a rare place where families could sit, experience nature, picnic, fly kites, play informal soccer games, and get to know more about each other and the nature that surrounds them. Lots of my life experiences came to mind…

“Look, Linda, a rabbit. It must have escaped from the Nature Lodge,” said a little girl while we, me a camp counselor and she a child from a very rich NYC family, stood on the porch of our cottage on a dewey early morning at a camp in Connecticut.

Watertown Community Preservation Program’s Current Projects, Reviewing Applications

The following announcement was provided by the Community Preservation Committee:

The Community Preservation Program is approaching its fifth year of operation. Since the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) adopted the Community Preservation Act Five-year Plan 2021-2025, the CPC has conducted two complete funding rounds. This year, the CPC celebrated the completion of the program’s first two projects. Irving Park got revamped using $372,606 in outdoor recreation funds and the Edmund Fowle House saw its deteriorated wooden gutters replaced using $47,177 in historic preservation funds. While Irving Park is city-owned, the Fowle House Museum, listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, and built in 1772, is owned and operated by the Historical Society of Watertown.

Learn About How to Apply for Community Preservation Act Funds & Approved Projects

The following information was provided by the City of Watertown:

The CPA Annual Public Hearing will be held in the Council Chamber in City Hall on Thursday, June 15, 2023, at 7 p.m.

Don’t miss the CPA Annual Public Hearing hosted by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) in the City Hall, City Council Chamber.  You may also join remotely via Zoom: https://watertown-ma.zoom.us/j/91525442843. This event is a great opportunity to: 

Hear more about the recently funded CPA Projects;

Tell us your open space, outdoor recreation, community housing, and historic preservation priorities;

Learn how to apply for CPA funding; and

Get answers to your questions about CPA in Watertown. Take our one question survey, What is one thing you would like to know about the Watertown CPA? 

You may send questions or comments in advance to Lanae Handy, Community Preservation Coordinator, at lhandy@watertown-ma.gov. Visit watertown-ma.gov/cpc for more information.

UPDATED: Committee Will Consider Which Community Preservation Projects to Support in 2023

The Community Preservation Committee will deliberate over the proposed projects for 2023, and vote on which ones to recommend to the City Council for final approval. The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) makes recommendations on how to spend the funds raised after Watertown passed the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in 2016. The money can fund projects in multiple areas: historic preservation, affordable housing, and open space and recreation. In February, the CPC heard six proposal for projects to be funded. On Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m. the Committee will discuss the proposals and vote on recommendations.

See the Community Preservation Project Application Presentations for 2023

The Community Preservation Committee will hear applications for six projects seeking from groups funding from the fund created by the passage of the Community Preservation Act. This year, will be the second year that funding had been awarded for Community Preservation projects. Last year, two were funded: the preservation of two historic paintings in City Hall, and the renovation of Irving Park. A third did not receive funds. Funds can go to projects in three areas: historic preservation, community housing, and outdoor recreation.

State Giving Watertown Nearly $1 Million for Community Preservation

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

Watertown’s Community Preservation Committee is pleased to announce that the Commonwealth has released $203,645 more to Watertown’s Community Preservation Fund, bringing the total annual state match to $956,905 for our City. These resources are a supplemental distribution from $20 million in state surplus funds for Community Preservation Act (CPA) communities in fiscal year 2022. State matching funds come from fees assessed on certain real estate transactions through the registration of deeds. For the past fiscal year, the state match equaled 38.5 percent of the CPA funds raised locally. Mark Kraczkiewicz, current chair of the CPC, said, “These matching state funds of nearly a million dollars confirm the wisdom of Watertown voters when they adopted the CPC.