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Future of North Side Improvement League to be unveiled Feb. 11

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The future of the financially strapped North Side Improvement League may be known Feb. 11.

A new slate of officers is asking members to attend a meeting that night. Afterward, the organization intends to make an announcement about what is going to happen with the league, said Brenda L. Parker, a trustee who was appointed finance officer after a meeting this week.

“I can’t say anything more, except we’re going to continue,” she said. “It’s good news. That’s all I can say.”

League officials decided to close in October and to stop holding Monday night Bingo games or other events, while waiting to reorganize, she said.

The organization received some bad publicity when it failed to pay a $232 overdue city water bill that trustees maintained they overlooked.

As a result, the Jefferson County Board of Elections decided not to use the building at 633 Mill St. as a polling site for the November election.

On Thursday, Mrs. Parker announced the new slate of officers. They are: her husband, Joseph S. Parker, president; James Thwaits, vice president; Christine L. Wadsworth, recording secretary; Richard Alger, treasurer, and herself as finance officer.

She said the league currently has 1,000 members.

In October, she said that the league had financial difficulties, but that it still had ample cash flow to pay the utility bills for its property. The board also obtained a loan to boost cash flow in the interim, the league said.

Mrs. Parker blamed city property taxes for the financial woes. The league now owes $14,119.28.

The 9,600-square-foot building is assessed at $395,200, according to city property records.

At one time, membership in the league was considered a prerequisite to holding office in Watertown. League meetings were known for generating public discussion and, at times, controversy.

It was formed in 1911 after the defeat of a city bond to build a bridge connecting Jackson and West Main streets across the Black River.

Robert E. Cahill, who later became mayor, vowed that similar projects would not meet the same fate, so he helped form the organization soon afterward.

The Feb. 11 meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Best Western, 300 Washington St.

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