City Buying Former Parker School, Council Approves Funds & Deal

City of WatertownThe City of Watertown will purchase the former Parker School building on Watertown Street. The City of Watertown will purchase the former Parker School, now an office building, and use it for municipal offices as well as renting out space. The purchase was approved by the City Council on Dec. 13, along with transferring $12 million to help with the deal. The total cost will be $14 million, and City Manager George Prokis said he expects the purchase to be completed by mid-January 2023.

Council Approves Adding $4.3 Million to FY23 Budget, Plans to Spend Most of Funds

Watertown City Hall

Watertown’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget increased by $4.325 million when the City Council approved the budget amendment on Nov. 9. Most of the additional funds will go to help purchase the former Parker School or will go into the High School project stabilization fund. City Manager George Proakis gave the details of the budget amendment for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2023. The additional fund mostly come from accounts that came in higher than when the budget was approved last spring, Proakis said.

City Planner Shows Possible Idea for Watertown Square That Includes Roundabouts

Jeff SpeckA concept for Watertown Square drawn up by city planner Jeff Speck, on the right, with an aerial photo of the area as it exists now. How to make Watertown Square a calmer, more efficient, and inviting place to be is a complex puzzle, which City Manager George Proakis plans to take on in his first year on the job. A well-known city planner took a stab at the problem and drew up a redesign with roundabouts on two ends of the main intersection in town. The drawing was the product of a quick analysis by Jeff Speck, in a talk about making cities more walkable, as well as places where businesses thrive. He presented it during his presentation at the Charles River Chamber of Commerce Fall Business Breakfast in Newton on Oct.

City Manager Hosting Meet & Greet for West Side Residents

The following information was provided by Councilor Emily Izzo:

City Manager George Proakis will be having a Meet & Greet for residents of District D. This will be taking place on Thursday, Nov. 3 from 6-8 p.m. in the Watertown Police Station Community Room.  

This will be a great opportunity to meet our new Manager and introduce yourself, as well as discuss any questions or concerns for the West End of Watertown! Hope to see you there!

City Manager Commits to Building a New High School Without Sacrificing Education or Green Features

Ai3 ArchitectsA rendering of the main entrance to Watertown High School from Columbia Street. Watertown has plans to build a new high school which will create enough energy to cover the amount needed to operate the building, be equipped with state of the art equipment and technology, and will educate students for decades to come. Even facing climbing construction costs, City Manager George Proakis vowed that the new school will be built.

Watertown will get a significant portion of the new high school reimbursed —  $44.2 million — by the State through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The cost of the project approved by the state was $138.6 million, but since the approval in March the cost of construction has escalated. In July, the School Building Committee approved “value engineering” steps to use less costly materials and reduce the scope of the project to keep it on budget.

City Manager Seeking Applicants for Residents’ Advisory Committee

Charlie BreitroseWatertown City Hall

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

City Manager George J. Proakis is seeking Watertown residents interested in serving on the Residents’ Advisory Committee.  

The Committee is being formed per the City Charter – Section 3-7 Residents’ Advisory Committee:  

“The city manager shall establish a Residents’ Advisory Committee to assist with recruitment, evaluation, and selection of candidates for appointment to multiple-member bodies. In making appointments to multiple-member bodies, the city manager shall seek to appoint individuals with relevant expertise or experience. The city manager shall work with the Residents’ Advisory Committee to establish policies and practices to actively encourage a diverse pool of applicants for multiple-member bodies. The city manager and Residents’ Advisory Committee shall recognize the importance of diversity in appointments, including, but not limited to, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity.”

Applicants should submit a letter of interest accompanied by a resume or other information concerning background or experience by Friday, November 4, 2022:  by email to or City Manager’s Office, 149 Main Street, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472.

Watertown’s New City Manager Holding Pair of Meet and Greets

Watertown City Manager George Proakis. Watertown City Manager George Proakis, who started his new position in August, will be holding a pair of meet-and-greets where he will be available to speak with residents and members of the public. Proakis will hold the first Meet and Greet with residents on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022 from 6-7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 149 Main St. The event precedes that evening’s City Council Meeting (the agenda includes the FY 2024 preliminary budget overview).