Federal funding found to replace Watertown dock

Photo courtesy of Veterans Service Officer Bob Erickson
A dock once stood at the foot of the steps until heavy March rains carried it down the Charles River to the Newton Yacht Club where it was torn apart and pulled from the water.

By Laura Paine/staff writer Wicked Local Watertown Posted Dec 09, 2010 @ 01:13 PM Last update Dec 09, 2010 @ 02:10 PM

WATERTOWN — Federal funding has been found to rebuild Watertown’s beloved Charles River dock.

According to State Rep. Jonathan Hecht, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved money for replacing the dock that washed away in March’s heavy rains. “Right now we’re trying to figure out with [Department of Conservation and Recreation] if it will be enough money to cover the cost and if not, where the additional money is going to come from,” said Hecht, who did not specify an amount. “Its been slow so far and a long and very bureaucratic process. It’s important we get that dock back up as soon as we can.” Hecht said there have been many discussions with the DCR, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the FEMA about how the money will be passed on to the town for the dock’s replacement. According to DCR spokesperson Wendy Fox, a spokesperson for the DCR, she did know that the federal funding had been made available. A call made to a FEMA representative was not immediately returned. The DCR filed a request for disaster relief funds for the dock with FEMA in August. President Barack Obama had declared a major disaster for Massachusetts because of the heavy rains and resulting flooding in the spring. The federal government set aside $6.4 million to help reimburse local and state governments, as well as some nonprofit organizations, with infrastructure repairs. FEMA only pays for 75 percent of the work and the local government is accountable for the rest. The entire dock disappeared down the swollen Charles River in mid-March, finally coming to rest at the Newton Yacht Club. The remains had to be broken into pieces and removed by a crane, according to Christopher Hayward, Watertown’s conservation agent. In the dock’s place now, a set of stairs leads directly into the river. The dock in Watertown Square had been a popular place for fishing, sunbathing and peaceful relaxation. Laura Paine can be reached at lpaine@cnc.com.

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