Belmont High’s Harris Field Closed Until August

Belmont High School’s Harris Field and its running track at the Concord Avenue Athletic Complex, a favorite destination in Belmont for youth teams, runners and for pickup games, are now officially “closed” for long-anticipated renovations beginning today, Monday, June 16, according to Judi Carmody, business manager of the Belmont Department of Public Works. 

The work is expected to last until Aug. 15, a week before the beginning of practice for the fall High School sports season. 

The $960,000 job, in which the synthetic turf “carpet” will be replaced, fencing and walkways repaired and the track resurfaced and relined, was authorized by the special Town Meeting in November 2013. The funding is coming from an extension of bonding that paid for the uni-vents at the High School. 

“We regret any inconvenience that these improvements may cause,” said Carmody. Residents who have any questions can call the DPW at 617-993-2680 or email at

This Week in Belmont: Last Day of School, Payson Park Music Festival Begins

• The last day of the school year in Belmont is Friday, June 20. It’s also an early release day.

• The Payson Park Music Festival celebrates a quarter of century of offering an outdoor musical venue for Belmont residents and those from surrounding communities with the first concert of the season on Wednesday, June 18 which will be a Battle of the Bands sponsored by the Belmont Savings Bank. The show gets underway at 6:45 p.m. at Payson Park at the corner of Payson Road and Elm Street. Bring the kids, a picnic and enjoy the summer

US. Rep. Katherine Clark will be holding Belmont office hours at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., on Tuesday, June 17, at 1 p.m. to  2:30 p.m. Meet with the Representative or one of her staff. They will also be bringing coffee.

• There will be music from the Chenery Middle School at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, June 17, at 1:15 p.m. with the the Flute Ensemble, Double Reed Ensemble and the Sixth Grade Jazz Combo.

The Belmont Public Library is providing one-on-one Digital Library Help oWednesday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Reference Room. Learn how to download eBooks from the library and set up a device. Get started with Zinio to read free digital magazines. E-mail and Internet basics, social media, or basic computer skills. Registration is required; register online or call 617-993-2870 to register by phone. Some services require downloading an app.  Please come prepared with your Apple ID, Adobe ID, Amazon Account information, or other password and log in information for your device.

• The ACH Piano Studio’s Ani Hovsepian will present a recital featuring 21 young musicians, the majority of whom are Belmont residents, at the Beech Street Center on Friday, June 20 at 6 p.m. From young beginners to advanced musicians, the students all share love for music and take special pride in offering their achievements to the Town’s seniors. They hope to foster interest in classical music and create a generation-to-generation bond!

State Sen. Will Brownsberger will be holding office hours at the Beech Street Center on Friday, June 20, at 10 a.m.

• Starting on Friday, June 20 and lasting for the next five Fridays, the Beech Street Center will be holding “Learn to Ballroom Dance” classes. The first class free of charge and there is no obligation. Learn how to dance or improve your present skills with our accomplished and popular teacher, Paul Hughes.

Trucking In This Season’s Belmont Farmers Market

For seven months, Suzanne Johannet would drive by the Claflin Street Parking Lot pinning for the return “of the white tents and vegetable and all the people” that makes up the Belmont Farmers Market.

Finally, on Thursday, June 12, Johannet and many residents got their wish as the Farmers Market celebrated the opening of its ninth season with vendors, a magician (Watertown’s Ryan Lally), trumpets and a first-ever food truck in the Belmont Center parking lot.

State Rep. Dave Rogers and kindergartener Daphne Ries – dressed as a tomato – cut the ceremonial ribbon as trumpeters Ned Searls and Jasper Wolf performed the traditional fanfare. Then Ries rang the market bell at 2 p.m. to announce the season lasting until the final Thursday in October.

“It’s always exciting to see the market reopen,” said Johannet who is a member of the Belmont Food Collaborative that manages the market.

Johannet said residents should come to the market because all the produce is fresh, it’s a great social event “seeing people you know each week” and there is an array of vendors so customers can pick up everything they need to make a great meal.

“If you love to cook and you love fresh vegetables, you’re in heaven here,” said Johannet.

Johannet also stressed that shopping at the market is just as cost effective as buying produce at the local supermarkets.

“We compare the prices of in season vegetables and fruits with those sold at the local food stores and the price is always the same or even less,” said J0hannet.

New this year will be food trucks which will come periodically. Thursday saw Benny’s Crêpe Café Truck stop by serving sweet and savory crepes and omelets. The other trucks include Jamaican Mi Hungry (whose owner is the food services manager at Belmont Day School) and Ribbons and Wraps.

“And who knows, we may add more as the season moves on,” said Johannet.

The Weekend in Belmont: Saturday Synchro Swimming, Brendan’s Home Run Sunday

• The First Church in Belmont’s Second Friday Coffeehouse concert series presents “An Evening with Richard Curzi and Positive Energy” on Friday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. at 404 Concord Ave. Curzi, First Church’s own keyboardist and singer, returns to the Second Friday Coffeehouse for the 13th time, performing both sets in a variety of musical configurations guaranteed to delight lovers of all music genres. This year’s show will be an all “unplugged” acoustic performance of an unconventionally eclectic mix of original songs, nostalgic pop, jazz, and folk styles. Admission is $10 with students and seniors $5.

• The Senior Book Discussion Group will meet on Friday, June 13 at 11 a.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., will continue our discussion of “Sons and Lovers” by D.H. Lawrence (Chapter 8 through the end of the book).

• Three Belmont swimmers will be participating in the annual Cambridge Synchro Swans Show, a demonstration of synchronized swimming taking place on Saturday, June 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the War Memorial Pool at 1640 Cambridge St., a stone throw from Harvard Square. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors with family tickets are $20. 

Juliette Saint-Ourens (on the 13 to 15 Intermediate Team and Trio) Quinn Maniona and Avery Williams (who are on the 13 to 15 Novice Team 1) will take part performing their routines along with lift and “throw” demonstrations. Maniona and Williams’ team took first place in the yearly novice/intermediate meet while Saint-Ourens qualified to swim at the East Zone Championships in Connecticut earlier this month. 

• An exhibit of artist Susan Schneider’s oil painting landscapes of New England, the Southwest and Coastal California can be viewed this weekend at the Mass Audubon Habitat, 10 Juniper Rd. Saturday and Sunday hours vary so call ahead at 617-489-5050.

• The 13th annual Brendan’s Home Run 5K race & walk is being held on Fathers’ Day, Sunday, June 15 with the 5K Charity Walk beginning at 9:30 a.m. with the road race commencing at 10 a.m. There will also be a 400 meter/800 meter youth races for kids 6 to 12. On-site entry fee on Father’s Day morning is $25. There is no charge for the 400/800m youth races.

A November Override Vote Now ‘Nil’ Due to State, Town Deadlines

The hope of advocates for Belmont schools and town services to place a multi-year operational Proposition 2 1/2 override on the November ballot has been quashed by a combination of a tight state deadline and insufficient time for a committee reviewing the towns financial health to complete its work in time, according to the Selectmen’s chair.

According to Brian McNiff, spokesperson of the Massachusetts Secretary of State office, the secretary’s deadline for reviewing and approving the Proposition 2 1/2 override language so it can be placed on the November 4 state election ballot is August 6.

“[The town] has to have all the work done by that date so we can do the legal review required,” said McNiff.

Andy Rojas, chair of the Belmont Board of Selectmen – the municipal body under state law that must approve both the language and determine whether the town requires an override – told the Belmontonian Wednesday, June 11, a summer cutoff point from the state on top of notification requirements on the Town Clerk all but dooms the proposed November override ballot question.

The early August state drop dead date will not allow the Financial Task Force, a 13-member “mega” committee created last year to conduct a comprehensive review of the town’s finances, highlight possible revenue streams and develop a long-range financial and capital improvement plan, any chance of completing the analysis the Selectmen would require.

“The chances that the Financial Task Force … finishing any of its work to the point where we can reach any clarity on an override is now apparently nil,” said Rojas.

Municipalities must follow a precise list of procedures mandated by the state Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue to place an override question on the ballot.

“It is a very strict on what we require from the towns,” said McNiff, as municipalities follow a template on the why, how much and when of an override request.

Under state law, a Proposition 21⁄2 referenda questions can be placed on the state biennial – every two years – election ballot which has become an important point by Belmont override advocates who hope to benefit from strong voter turnout in a November election with state-wide races – including what many predict will be a competitive race for governor – on the ballot.

“However, those questions must be submitted to the Secretary of State for certification by the first Wednesday in August preceding the [biennial] election. G.L. c. 59, § 21C(i),” according to language on the Revenue Department’s web site. (

In addition to state requirements, Belmont’s Town Clerk “must receive written notice of the referendum at least 35 days before the date of the election. The vote to place a question on the ballot must take place in sufficient time to meet this advance notice requirement,” reads the regulations.

While the Task Force has been working since the beginning of the year on the town’s finances, “they are still working through the facts,” said Rojas.

Rojas said he continues to support placing an override on the ballot “once we have all the information” to determine the need to permanently raise the tax levy.

“I think … the earliest voters will have a chance to vote on the override will be the [annual] Town Election in April,” said Rojas.

Sold in Belmont: Three Homes on the Roads

A weekly recap of residential properties bought in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

200 Rutledge Road. Garrison colonial (1936), Sold for: $1,510,000. Listed at $1,595,000. Living area: 3,608 sq.-ft. 13 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 158 days.

26 Frost Road. Garrison colonial (1940), Sold for: $860,000. Listed at $795,000. Living area: 1,767 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 68 days.

86 Juniper Road. Antique Cape (1936), Sold for: $1,495,000. Listed at $1,495,000. Living area: 3,636 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 81 days.

Get In Line: Community Preservation Set Dates for Applying for Funding

Do you have a project that could use a few dollars to complete?

Well, you may want to get in line to apply for what will be the third funding round from the town’s Community Preservation Committee which distributes the total of a 1.5 percent surcharge on property taxes and state funding for a wide-range of proposals involving acquiring or improving open space and recreation land, rehabbing or preserving historic sites and supporting community housing.

Preliminary applications for CPC funds will be available on July 1 from the committee. But already “eight or nine” groups have made inquires on the process, according to Floyd Carman, Belmont’s treasurer and committee’s clerk.

“Residents have seen the process work and now are thinking about it for their proposals,” said Carman.

And the committee will be holding a tidy amount of cash to help jump start projects.

At its monthly committee on Wednesday, June 11, the CPC estimates it will have a little more than $1.1 million to distribute to organizations or town agencies in the 2016 fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015, said Michael Trainor, the CPC coordinator.

That total could increase with the approval of an additional $25 million in additional state matching funds distributed across the state that could up Belmont’s total to $1.4 million, said Trainor.

But groups which believe simply by applying for CPC funding guarantees the money in their bank account will benefit attending the public meeting on Sept. 18 where the committee will answer questions and review the extensive process in which projects are evaluated.

Preliminary applications are due in on Sept. 30. A week later, on Oct. 8, the committee will make the first round of cuts. Groups whose proposals past muster will make a five-minute presentations and answer questions from the committee on Nov. 13. Final applications are due on Dec. 1.

The CPC will make its final decision on accepting or rejecting applications on Jan. 14, 2015.

In April, the CPC made its largest distribution by providing $2 million for the new Underwood Pool. But the committee usually allocates smaller amounts to such projects as $165,000 for the electrical upgrade of town housing, $8,700 to improve the irrigation system at the High School’s “JV” field and $67,000 for the second phase of the Butler School Playground project.

This fiscal year, Carman is advising the committee to create a “reserve” account, setting aside a specific amount annually to build up a funding source to use on acquisitions or projects exceeding the entire funding amount in any future year.

For more information, contact the Community Preservation Hotline at 617-993-2774 or Trainor at

Ring the Bell! Belmont Farmers Market Opens for the Season Today

It has been more than seven months since the market bell last rung but today, residents will once again have the opportunity to purchase fresh fruit, vegetable and lots of other good stuff as the Belmont Farmers Market opens for its ninth season at 2 p.m., Thursday, June 12, in the Claflin Street Municipal Parking Lot at the intersection of Cross Street and Channing Road in Belmont Center.

With an fanfare by Ned Searls and Jasper Wolf, State Rep. Dave Rogers will cut the tomato ribbon to officially open the market which will operate from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

A list of vendors, including several new businesses and producers, can be found here:

This year Belmont will see its first food trucks at the market; one serving crepes and omelets (monthly) and the other Jamaican food (the last two weeks in June, July and August).

Performers in the Events Tent
 today includes magic by Ryan Lally from 2:10 p.m. to 3 p.m. and old-time string music by The Hoot Owls from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

STORYTIME returns from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Last year it was mostly for preschool-aged children, but so many older kids came that we’re expanding it to include stories for older children. It’s sponsored by the Children’s Room of the Belmont Public Library. Librarians pick out books about food and farms, and market volunteers or librarians read each week.

The Belmont Farmers Market accepts SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) and gives shoppers who use them extra money to spend at the market on approved items.

Here’s how it works:

  • Bring the SNAP card to the blue Market tent.
  • The manager will swipe the card and gives out certificates to shop with.
  • The market will double a shopper’s SNAP benefits up to $25 per day, while matching funds are available. Example: If you planned to spend $10, the market will double that amount and provide certificates worth $20 to spend at the market.
  • Get full details at the Market Managers’ tent at the Belmont Farmers’ Market.

Last year, the market matched close to $1,000 in purchases. Matching funds have come from generous donations and grant funds.

What to Do Today: Authors Festival at the Chenery, Butler Sings at the Beech

• The Chenery Middle School’s inaugural Spring Into Summer Book Fair is holding an Authors Festival in the school’s library from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Authors Julie Berry, Loree Griffin Burns, Erin Dionne, Greg Fishbone, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Sarah L. Thomson and David Yoo will be there to talk to students and parents and sign their books. The book fair continues until Friday.

• The Butler Elementary School 4th Grade Chorus will sing a variety of choral works written especially for children from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Beech Street Center. The 42-member chorus has been rehearsing once a week since September. Conductor Rosanne Mili has been a teacher at the Butler for 31 years while accompanist Craig McMahon, who is a recent graduate of Boston University, is the music teacher at the Wellington School and assists Mili with both the 3rd and 4th grade choruses.

• The Belmont Youth Hockey Association is meeting and providing jerseys for players in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room (adjacent to the Children’s Room) from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• On this day in 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are murdered outside her home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. O.J. Simpson is later acquitted of the killings in 1995, but is held liable in a wrongful death civil suit.