The Watertown Redevelopment Authority this week hired a firm to help it get grant money to finish the demolition of the buildings in the first block of West Main Street to make way for the Town Square

Holding a virtual public meeting on April 28, Rob Marchant, chairman of the Watertown Redevelopment Authority, and members of the Watertown Redevelopment Authority approved a resolution to enter into contract for grant writing services for the Town Square. The meeting was open to the public.

“This isn’t how I would ideally like to have a meeting, but with grant application deadlines approaching we needed to meet before losing potential funding opportunities,” said Marchan.

The resolution, which passed by a unanimous vote, authorizes Executive Director Kristen Fish-Peterson to enter into a contract with the SmithGroup, the firm which designed the Town Square. Working on behalf of the City of Watertown, the SmithGroup will provide immediate assistance in applying for four grants from the Wisconsin DNR.

The contract was for $20,000.

“SmithGroup was chosen because of their in-depth knowledge of the Town Square project as well as the relationship they have with granting agency staff and the necessary experience to navigate the grant writing process,” said Fish-Peterson.

The resolution extends the original SmithGroup contract to include conducting pre-application, grant writing, submission, and follow up services for grants related to river access and trail/riverwalks, storm-water improvements, and the construction of green infrastructure. In addition, the SmithGroup will broaden the search to identify other grant opportunities to help fund of the building of the Town Square.

Reviewing the budget, Marchant advised members that the RDA’s goal remains to fund one third of the Town Square using the RDA’s resources, one third from the City of Watertown, and the balance from grants and other sources.

“We are well on our way towards financing the Town Square project,” Marchant said. “The approval of this Resolution marks an important and responsible step forward in securing necessary grant funds.”

Marchant welcomed new alderpersons Chris Ruetten and Bob Wetzel to the RDA and thanked Bill Maron and Rick Tortomasi, retiring aldermen, for their service to the citizens of Watertown and as members of the RDA board.

“We are committed to maintaining our open and transparent process with community input as we move this project forward and, as such, we will likely hold off on transacting all but the most pressing business virtually in hopes that soon we will again be meeting in person each month in City Hall,” Marchant added.

For more information about the RDA, to view progress on the Town Square, and other activities of the RDA, visit the RDA website at watertownredevelopment.org.

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