Transparency at center of new City Hall debate
Watertown mayor says city has been palms up about potential to move out of downtown
WATERTOWN – Some called it uptown. Some called it downtown. But regardless of what they called it, they wanted City Hall to stay.
That’s the overwhelming message residents delivered this week at a special council meeting. The sole purpose of the meeting was to gather input on a plan for a new City Hall. Like many communities across the state, Watertown officials are struggling to upgrade aging public buildings.
There was no opposition to a new City Hall – that much everyone agreed on. Nor was there opposition to the idea that the city needs a new headquarters for its street department. Public Works Director Heath VonEye said the current facility doesn’t have indoor room for all its vehicles, meaning millions of dollars of equipment is exposed to the elements year-round.
But combining the two on Highway 20 northwest of downtown was a nonstarter for those who spoke at the special meeting on Tuesday night. The street department belonged on Highway 20. City Hall belonged downtown.