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Watertown Still Searching for Funds for Upgrades to Charles River Path

The project has been designed, but the state did not provide money in its latest budget.

Plans to improve the area along the Charles River in Watertown have been drawn up and are ready to go, but town officials have been stymied in efforts to get funds for the $1.6 million project. 

This year's state's budget for capital projects does not include money for the project, said Steve Corbett, vice president of the Town Council and member of the group planning the improvements.

The Town Council agreed in concept to join in a group sending a letter to Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Edward Lambert and Richard Sullivan, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, asking them to find the money for the project. Before they sign it, however, some councilors said they want to see what the letter will say.

The project focuses on a section of the riverfront east of Watertown Square.

"The renovations involves revitalizing the section along the Charles from Watertown Square to the Watertown Yacht Club," Corbett said. 

Some money has been set aside for the project, but the funds are contingent on the state providing some of the cash. Local groups have promised $120,00 and the Town Council set aside $100,00 for the improvements, but those dollars won't be available until the state comes up with $600,000.

Although the project did not make the state's capital budget, Corbett said he hopes that some money may be available from other sources or that money may free up.

"There are other pockets of money in the state budget that could potentially contribute to the project, including those for: transportation, park land improvement, recreation programs and playgrounds," Corbett said. "Another option is that projects on the (capital budget) list fall off schedule or are cancelled."

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