What the B**k??! Belmont’s Library Needs Your Support Tonight and Tuesday Evening

The Planning Board sprung a wild idea to move the main branch of the Belmont Public Library across town. Weigh in on that plan tonight at the Selectmen’s meeting and tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Planning Board Meeting at Beech Street Center.

Hey Blogging Belmont Readers! Paul here. As you know, I reach out from time to time to let the BB community know about important goings on in town government. Generally over the summer, those are few and far between – but not always. In fact, as the Town Green debacle illustrated a couple years ago, Summer can be Silly Season in Belmont’s politics.

That appears to be happening again this summer, with the proposal put forward by Planning Board member Raffi Manjikian on July 11th to relocate the main branch of the Belmont Public Library to the Belmont Car Wash location on Trapelo Road. The move, Manjikian said, would revitalize Waverly Square and help address Belmont’s mounting backlog of capital projects: renting the land from the current owners for use as the library. Good idea?

Not so much. First of all: Manjikian and Planning Board Chairwoman Liz Allison (who backs the idea) never presented the idea to the Library Board of Trustees or the BPL’s Director prior to airing it in their committee. As the Citizen Herald notes, the plan was also floated without first contacting the owners of the Car Wash (which is doing just fine, thank you, and has no plans to move). Nor did they contact other business owners in Waverley Square to get their input. Ms. Allison did have a hallway conversation with  Library Board of Trustees Chairwoman Kathy Keohane, who as “understandably unenthusiastic” about it, Allison acknowledged. And yet she persisted. 😉

In any case, Manjikian’s plan will be discussed at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting this evening at Town Hall tonight starting at 7:00 PM in the Selectmen’s Hearing Room. The Planning Board Update is slated to start at 8:30 according to the schedule, though agenda items can shift around. Maybe plan to be there by 8:00 PM?

The other meeting you should attend in addition to/instead of the Board of Selectmen’s meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday) evening’s Planning Board meeting which begins at 7:00 PM in the Auditorium of the Beech Street Center. This is where the Planning Board will officially present and discuss what it calls in its agenda the “Waverley Square/South Pleasant Street Mixed Use Concept” aka: moving the Public Library to a new location.

I’m sure you would rather do other things on a beautiful Summer’s eve. But, as the famous abolitionist Wendell Phillips said: “eternal vigilance is the price of library…err…liberty!”

See you there!