Photo: Placing jersey barriers along Leonard Street as Belmont Center’s main roadway becomes one-way ’til Halloween.
The Flett Company’s trucks and excavator were rolling down Leonard Street Monday morning, May 3, as workers under the management of Department of Public Works Director Jay Marcotte placed 35 jersey barriers and 100s of metal barricades along Belmont Center’s busiest road. From today to the end of October, the town’s main business thoroughfare will be a one-way avenue, running southward from Alexandra Avenue to Moore Street as the area becomes a pedestrian and dining friendly spot.
With residents returning to those pre-pandemic “normal” activities as vaccinations become the norm rather than an exception, “we want to welcome them back and enjoy the Center,” said Heidi Sawyer of the Belmont Garden Club.
The single lane road – 10 mph, please – is a return from 2020 when Leonard Street was narrowed to allow restaurants to expand their al fresco dining during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While created to assist the struggling eateries, residents and visitors found the added space to be a new found pleasure which allowed for strolling and people watching during a time when most residents were stuck at home.
There are some improvements from last year as the barriers have a fresh coat of silver paint, bright yellow tables, chairs and umbrellas are scattered along the sidewalks and the inclusion of play spaces with table tennis and other fun activates.
But the most recognizable upgrade from last year are the dozens for planters filled with flowering scrubs and bushes placed on and in-between the jersey barriers, thanks to a collaboration of the Belmont Center Business Association and the Belmont Garden Club which was supported by a $25,000 gift from a local couple which will go to making the summer a return to a more normal.