The new Town Square park took a big stride forward Tuesday.

In approving the 2021 City of Watertown budget, the common council freed up more funds to go ahead on the project.

“This is good news for the town square project,” said Kristen Fish, Redevelopment Authority executive director.

“In addition to the City’s $1 million investment, the RDA has committed $1 million to the project,” she continued. “We’re well over halfway to our goal of raising between $2.9 and $3.8 million to complete the town square.”

The estimated town square construction budget, based on a schematic level of opinion of probable costs, accoding to the SmithGroup planners, is $1.9 million to $2.6 million for the main square, which includes the community and performance plazas, $550,000-750,000 for Water Street upgrades, and $350,000-450,000 for riverfront development and the boat dock.

The Town Square Design Committee, which will finalize its selection of amenities in early December, has reported they are within the project’s budget. Once finished, SmithGroup will create construction documents. These documents will be used to obtain permits and construction bids. The bidding process will likely begin in early 2021 with contracts being awarded sometime in mid-March.

For months, Town Square fundraising has been quietly active behind the scenes.

“We were waiting for a final commitment from the City,” Fish said. With the City’s additional $1 million secured, RDA board members and Fish will be making calls and setting up appointments with the organizations, businesses, and individuals who’ve already expressed interest in funding a larger portion of the square or have been identified as a strong community partners.

As one of the most notable projects in Watertown’s 167-year history, a donation to help build the Town Square is really an investment in a brighter future for Watertown and its people.

“It’s more than a park hosting a few planned activities,” Fish said. “This square is where generations upon generations will gather to support and engage with the local economy, where children will learn and foster healthy living habits…the town square will be a world-class place we can all be proud of and honored to call our own.”

To learn more about town square donation opportunities, contact Kristen Fish at KFish@cityofwatertown.org.

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