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Meet Rose Mary Su

Q: What brought you to Watertown

We came back from vacation in 2015 to find the landlord sold our building and our rent was going up $400/month with more hikes coming. Our tight-knit community of neighbors included a Uighur family, a Korean church pastor and his family, young professionals, and long-time residents that needed the wheelchair accessibility our building offered.The rent hike forced many of us to consider housing elsewhere.

My husband and I met through rock climbing. So Central Rock Gym’s great indoor climbing gym got us thinking about Watertown.

As we get older, we realized that what we appreciate most here is the relaxed small-town vibe, friendly residents, and neighborhoods and shops that are easy to walk to. Before Arsenal was as hip as it is today, we saw the potential of the Arsenal buildings and its proximity to the residences. We are thankful that Boylston Property and our city planners had the vision to create such an inviting and vibrant neighborhood. The local businesses along Mt. Auburn, Main, and Arsenal, such as Coolidge Hardware, Arax, VIP, and Roksana, are also extremely important to us and provide many of our everyday needs.

Q: You have a four-year-old. You are both full time working professionals. You are in the middle of renovating your house. You are a Library Trustee. How do you juggle it all?

It’s hard to juggle all our roles! During the 2020 lockdown, we took out giant loans and our savings to buy a house untouched for the last 70 years. It came with baggage: mold, lead, and asbestos. We didn’t care. We were ready to swing the hammer ourselves after the abatement team cleaned it up. Two and a half years later, we’re far from complete, but at least we have a roof over our heads and can eat our family meals together. These days we focus our free time to work on the house and enjoy what Boston has to offer. It keeps the home renovation more affordable. And there is plenty to do in Boston!

One of the biggest challenges for families with young children is how expensive childcare is. We are thankful for finding Milestones Daycare on Waverly Ave. Owned by a Watertown parent, Milestones has been relatively reasonable in their tuition pricing and has wonderful teachers. My son the other day told me that he doesn’t want to get older because he wants to stay at Milestones forever.

It is extremely difficult to balance the finances and time to allow us to send our son to the public Pre-K this fall without the extended day program. My hope is that our schools can hire more teachers and every child in Pre-K/ Kindergarten can stay for extended day. This will provide more equity in access to our public education system, as well as indirectly providing equity in our career advancement.

Despite all the craziness, I had a calling to get involved with the Watertown Free Public Library. I wanted to give back to the community. I know that other Trustees would agree with me. It is a special library, and we care about it and want to help promote it.

Q: What are you and the other Trustees working on at the library?

The library is one of my favorite types of buildings, as it must provide a variety of programs and evolve as the trends change. Recent trends include maker spaces similar to Hatch, podcast recording studios, music practice rooms, and teaching kitchens. The WFPL is one of the last public spaces that is open to everyone. I see the importance of staying involved to help promote and steer the WFPL’s plans for future expansions. The library is no longer just about books but is a gathering space for community events and can also be used as a space to provide social support and services. Whether we like it or not, the librarians are at the frontlines of our evolving city and are some of the first ones to see when there are changes. We need to be ready to support them when they need us.

Q: What do you do for work?

I work as a consultant in acoustics, noise and vibration that relates to the built environment. It is a niche specialty that allows me to be involved in all types of projects across the United States. It is a quiet partner in the building design world that is not typically appreciated until there is a problem. We work with architects and engineers during design in making sure buildings and sites perform well acoustically. Our clients are typically universities and schools, developers of all sorts of buildings, and sometimes directly with companies and institutions.


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