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Public to get first look at town square design

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“Opportunity begins here” is the theme of the Redevelopment Authority event set for Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall. Community members are invited to see the RDA’s plans for the Town Square and learn about new opportunities it will provide for the community to gather and grow.

A question and answer session will follow a short presentation made by the SmithGroup, the design firm that helped plan the Town Square. Members from the Town Square Design Steering Committee, a group of residents working on behalf of the Watertown community, and the RDA, a committee appointed by the mayor and approved by the common council, will join the SmithGroup to take questions.

The committee uanimously approved the SmithGroup design on Friday.

Making a motion to approve the concept as presented, Melissa Lampe, Executive Director at Watertown Main Street Program and member of the committee, summed up the approval in one word, “Wow!”

“The final design of the Town Square has truly accomplished what we set out to do,” said Watertown Library Director Peg Checkai.

“We wanted a welcoming space, one people feel comfortable using,” she continued. “I’m most excited about the community table and the sidewalks having no vertical curb. Being able to temporarily close the street to create a large plaza for people to gather for events is exciting. More importantly, the entire space seamlessly integrates with the new library.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with the RDA, Watertown Community Design Committee, and city officials on this project,” said Tom Rogers, principal studio leader with the SmithGroup. “We are very pleased with this design and are already seeing it serve as a catalyst for attracting more interest in economic redevelopment of Watertown’s City Center.”

Rogers explained the benefits of the new design also how it will be able to attract more people to the area with new events and activities.

“The overall goal of this design was two fold, to honor the past and create spaces for large and small event programming that will effortlessly attract people downtown again,” Rogers said. “Spaces are successful because of how they are programmed…concerts, farmers markets, art shows, and library events, which can spill out onto the sidewalk and into the square will fit this space like hand and glove.”

One of the few people who got a sneak peak look at the plans was Linda Doerr, former owner of the 109 property in the middle of the 100 block.

“I think this is awesome. I like it a lot,” Doerr said. “The future is really at our feet....This square will bring the residents of Watertown together in one central place for one central purpose...(to bring the) community together!”

Doerr could hardly contain her excitement for the new space.

“A place like this has been in my heart for a very long time...for a lot of years....It’s finally here!”

The public is invited to the presentation, which starts at 7 p.m. Boards displaying the town square renderings can be seen at the senior center, City Hall, and a number of local banks.

For current project updates, visit Facebook at Watertown, WI Redevelopment Authority.

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