Watertown adopts Thompson Park master plan

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Nov. 20—WATERTOWN — Thompson Park now has a blueprint for the future.

The City Council on Monday night unanimously adopted a master plan for Thompson Park, the first in decades.

The master plan sets a vision for the park and goals for restoration and enhancement, recreational needs, preservation, ecological integrity and ongoing maintenance, city officials said.

Phil Sprague, chairman of the Friends of Thompson Park, said after the vote that the master plan is crucial to the park, adding that it sets forth a plan that has overwhelming support for what's in the document.

"This is absolutely essential for the park and the people in the community," he said.

Last February, the city's consultant, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC, New York City, unveiled the 119-page document. The local engineering firm GYMO also worked on the project.

Some of the recommendations include a new bandstand, improved connections to nearby neighborhoods, a more cohesive trail system, additional parking, a winter village and a Thompson Park museum in the old bathhouse.

Now that the park has a master plan, the city can use it to seek public funding sources and for future endeavors.

To prepare for the document, the consultant visited and toured the park for several days. The city also sought public input for the project.

The park was designed in the early 20th century by John and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City's Central Park and many other parks throughout the United States.

To get ideas for what's in the draft plan, the city and the consultants met with residents at the Harvest Fest last fall and gained input through an online survey.

A master plan became a City Council goal in recent years while there have been increased discussions about adding amenities to the park.

Council members approved a $135,000 contract with the two consultants to come up with a master plan.

The plan is available for viewing on the city's website under the parks and recreation page.

In other action, the City Council increased the starting salary range to fill the vacant city engineer position.

The city has advertised the position twice and didn't get any applicants. The salary range will increase from $87,791 to $110,702 to $100,877 to $127,204.

The council also awarded two contracts.

Council members approved a $39,850 contract to low-bidder Bronze Contracting LLC, of Remsen, to demolish a vacant house at 214 Hoard St.

Neighbors requested the eyesore be torn down. However, a local man proposed restoring the home and living in it.

Low-bidder Elevattitt Inc., of Syracuse, was awarded $78,000 to repair the elevator in City Hall.

The mechanical portion of the elevator will be replaced.