Let the great game of Chess begin! As the Patch reported yesterday: the State granted Belmont $7.5 Million to build a new library across Concord Ave from the library’s current location.
The grant, for the construction of a 45,000 square foot, two story building (the current library is just 29,000 square feet) is contingent, of course on a number of major developments in town, and the award will put pressure on town leaders to make a move in what might be thought of as a big chess game.
First: the Belmont School Department would have to release land currently belonging to Belmont High School to the town for construction of the building. That space is currently used for playing fields and the School Department is (rightly) interested in finding comparable space to build a new playing field.
The idea, floated by Selectman Mark Paolillo, proposes that the new field be constructed where the current Underwood Pool is located and that the pool (also in dire need of replacement) be moved up the hill from its current location. Moving the library and the pool and the field would free up the current library to become the new Belmont Police Department, which would free up the current BPD building (and the adjoining, vacant, Belmont Electric Dept. building) for new commercial development downtown.
Oh, and then there’s the matter of the “old incinerator site” that may be in play too – either as an alternative site for the playing field (not very desirable, given the distance from BHS) or as town-owned commercial land that could be sold to help pay for the construction of a new Underwood pool. It’s going to be a VERY interesting fall, indeed.
In any case – congratulations to the Library Board of Trustees. There’s going to be a Thank You Party at the Library on October 13 at 10:00am and the Library is also looking for volunteers to help with what will be an important capital campaign to raise the additional funds needed to construct the new building. Check out the Belmont Library Foundation web site for more info on that.