January 4, 2018: Belmont Citizen-Herald
Remember when the Red Sox won the World Series back in 2004? That feeling of “I never thought I’d live to see the day”? That was 2017 in Belmont.
But first, some things never change. One of those things is the pride our Belmont High School students bring to the community. Special kudos in 2017 go to the BHS girls rugby team. In an historic first, their state championship was not merely the first in Massachusetts. Rather, the 2017 Belmont team was the first ever, in the entire country, to win a championship in girls rugby as a state-sanctioned varsity sport. Well done, girls. Well done, Coach Kate McCabe.
The community as a whole won when Town Meeting decided to proceed with major capital projects that have long languished. Under the leadership of Anne Marie Mahoney, chair of the Major Capital Projects Work Group, decisions were made to proceed with short-term solutions, and a long-term plan, to address the abysmal conditions of our police station and DPW yard. While challenges yet remain, for the first time, there is now a clear path forward to replace these essential public facilities. Now, let’s talk about the name of that committee, the MCPWG!
Speaking of paths, after 25-plus years of debate, the Board of Selectmen approved a route for Belmont’s community path. Based on an incredibly inclusive public input process, the path’s route will connect our town into the larger regional network of paths going both east and west. Completion of the community path –as with the DPW and police station, many obstacles still remain—is expected not only to be a boon to walkers/runners/bikers, but is expected to bring considerable business benefits to Belmont Center as well.
No new business generated more excitement than the opening of Belmont Books in Belmont Center last spring. Along with the in-store Black Bear Café, Belmont Books contributes to the essence of community, having quickly become a destination place to shop, browse and/or meet friends and converse. Belmont has long missed having a book store. Belmont Books has brought one back with class and style.
New thinking, new designs, new grade configurations and a new school appear to be the future for classes for many of our students. During 2017, one could hardly turn around without being solicited for input about a new Belmont High School by the BHS Building Committee and chair Bill Lovallo. What do you want a building to look like? What grades should be there? What kinds of spaces should exist, both inside the building and out? Natural light? Technology? Solar power? We’ve been asked about it all.
You “may” have noticed a new building going up in Cushing Square this year. After the multi-year debacle of a permitting process, the structure of Cushing Village (nay, The Bradford) finally began to rise this year. What you will not notice is a new Library in Waverley Square. Efforts by the Planning Board to consider such a proposal, strangely without ever consulting the Library Board of Trustees, were quickly shot down this past summer. Instead, the newly appointed Library Building Committee will seek to implement the recommendations developed by the Library feasibility study.
And finally, while not needing a new building, under the tutelage of News Director Fredrique Rigoulot, the Belmont Media Center (located in Waverley Square) is now producing the Belmont Journal, a weekly news show focusing on hyper-local news specific to Belmont. You can watch it on television or stream it on-line, on-demand.
As we remember 2017, and wonder what 2018 might bring, we should remember Abraham Lincoln’s counsel that “the best way to predict your future is to create it.”