WATERTOWN — The Town Council learned more about the Technical Assistance for Brownfields program at the University of Connecticut during its meeting on Monday, May 15.
Watertown was one of only four towns to participate in the project with the intent to start brownfields redevelopment activity in Connecticut.
At no cost to the town, an assessment was conducted to identify brownfields that could be returned to the tax base.
The review identified 12 sites that meet the criteria of TAB, with five as most likely to be candidates for funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, and prioritized those sites in accordance with Watertown’s redevelopment goals.
The sites include 20 and 27 Main St., Oakville, near Pin Shop Pond, 0 and 25 Hillside Ave., Watertown, at the former Sealy Mattress site, and 25 Falls Ave. Watertown, at the former Ferre Form, Inc., site.
The investigation looked at the status of underutilized or abandoned buildings.
The information gathered could become a living database, where progress on these sites could be updated, with continued support from TAB.
Next, the council entertained a presentation regarding the a proposed park at the corner of Echo Lake Road and Buckingham Street.
Town Manager Mark Raimo explained that the project started as a cleanup project on a half-acre of land owned by the town.
The idea is to organize and highlight multiple service organizations in a public-private partnership that honors Watertown’s volunteers.
Funds from $25,000 gift donated by the Watertown Foundation would be used for a flagpole and signage.
The first phase of the project was the presentation and approval from the council, designating the parcel and establishing a learning space.
In the next phase, service organizations will be invited to donate a bench and informational stations to help park visitors to learn about the service organizations.
Mr. Raimo planned to invite the organizations to participate in the coming weeks, with a park dedication scheduled to coincide with the 2025 centennial celebration in Watertown.
The town manager said that the highway personnel have been busy filling in the area to prepare it and save costs.
Mr. Raimo added that in partnership with the Watertown Public Schools, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alison Villanueva voiced her support, noting “there are natural opportunities in our civics curriculum to expand student opportunities to engage as volunteers around town.”
Dr. Villanueva, along with her administrative teams, will work to infuse more civic opportunities into their social studies experience across the grade levels in an effort to increase the awareness and importance of community volunteerism.
“The park serves perfectly as a reminder and destination space for students looking to promote and encourage the expansion of volunteerism in the community, fostering a sense of pride and appreciation for these organizations’ work to make Watertown a better place each day.”
Before adjourning, the Town Council formally named the future park as Watertown Foundation Centennial Park.
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