Finding Ways To Connect Watertown's Downtown To Black River

Finding Ways To Connect Watertown's Downtown To Black River

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Watertown planners want to renovate the city's riverfront.

The department is working with planners from Saratoga Associates to connect downtown Watertown with the Black River.

There was a public forum Wednesday evening to discuss ideas.

"We want to create a district down there that we can bring people to, improve economic activity along the river and really make the riverfront an asset to the city," city planner Mike Lumbis said.

Changes on the drawing board include using a Newell Street property that was the site of a massive fire in February as a gateway to the river.

Planners also discussed introducing a boardwalk for patrons to walk across, as well as improvements to the J.B. Wise parking lot to increase foot traffic.

City council members came to the forum and say they're optimistic about what lies ahead.

Council member Ryan Henry-Wilkinson says the connection project has been a long time coming.

"I think it's important to have a third party come in, a neutral eye to say 'this is the best way to do it because you're going to get the most mileage out of your investment,'" he said.

Although the riverfront project is already well in the works, both planning committees say they're unsure when the entire project will be complete.

Saratoga Associates will be back sometime in the fall to host another public forum. 

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