Formation of business district eyed

Public Square, Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — About $1.5 million in street improvements under the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative program are headed to the design phase of the project.

Michael A. Lumbis, the city’s planning and community development director, said that the city is nearing a decision to select a landscape engineering firm to design the streetscape project involving a good portion of Court Street and the 200 block of Franklin and a small portion of Coffeen street.

The project includes new sidewalks, curbing, lighting, landscaping, tree planting and smaller public art projects.

The improvements will make it easier for pedestrians to walk around downtown. Construction won’t start until next year.

The city sent out a Request for Proposals for the project, and 14 firms submitted proposals. A committee of city staff will recommend the firm, and the City Council will sign off on the one selected.

“We’ll be ready to roll,” Mr. Lumbis said.

The city’s planning and the purchasing departments and Engineering Office have been working on the planning aspects of four public projects.

The city obtained $1.95 million through the state’s DRI program for the streetscape project and three other public projects.

The state Department of State, which oversees the city’s DRI projects, has signed the contract for funding with the city, Mr. Lumbis said.

The design work is slated to start this spring and take about a year to complete. The improvements would start soon after that.

The same architectural firm also will design the $100,000 project to protect the Gov. Roswell P. Flower Monument on lower Washington Street. Over the years, the monument has been damaged after getting struck by vehicles several times.

The remainder of the $1.95 million will be used for $320,000 in branding and wayward signage and $55,000 for a decorative fence around the fountain in Public Square.

With the impact of pandemic still occurring, Mr. Lumbis doesn’t know the status of the Masonic Temple and Paddock Arcade projects that private developers are undertaking with the $10 million DRI funding that the city received in 2017.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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