Lachenauer Plaza, streetscape work progressing in downtown Watertown

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WATERTOWN — Lachenauer Plaza will be more than just a nice place to gather after the downtown urban park reopens as part of the city’s $3.6 million streetscape project.

The city is incorporating an urban planner’s approach to make the new plaza safer, city officials said.

City planner Geoffrey T. Urda said that the city is utilizing the process of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, or CPTED, in the redo of the plaza. The approach is based on the principle that architectural elements, in this case throughout the city, can be used strategically to create safer areas.

Mr. Urda is already envisioning what the plaza will look like when the major road improvements are finished next year, he told a gathering of business and community leaders during an Advantage Watertown meeting last week.

In the 1970s, the city dedicated the plaza to William and George Lachenauer, who had served as mayor and the city’s fire chief, respectively.

In the past two weeks, demolition of the plaza was completed as construction begins on the streetscape project. A groundbreaking for the streetscape project was held on July 21.

The new plaza was purposely designed to make it safer for those who use it, Mr. Urda said. The old plaza was surrounded by shrubs and had one access point.

“There was one way in and one way out,” said Michael A. Lumbis, the city’s planning and community development director. “You couldn’t see in. It wasn’t inviting.”

The new plaza will become more open by removing those shrubs and replacing them with small trees, Mr. Lumbis said. The plaza will feature a semicircle brick wall with benches, improved lighting and a grassy area. A small fountain will also be installed.

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