It was just a couple of sentences during a joint meeting held at Belmont Town Hall this past Wednesday, Oct. 29.
But the short statement by Board of Selectmen Chair Andy Rojas introduced a new, and potentially game changing use to the mix of opportunities being proposed for the 16-acre former town incinerator site off upper Concord Avenue.
“There are five to six options including a police station with the capping being discussed,” said Rojas during a meeting with the Selectmen, Capital Budget and Warrant committees, bringing up for the first time a new location for the Belmont Police Department headquarters.
The state is housed in a threadbare Depression-era building at the corner of Concord Avenue and Pleasant Street across from Belmont Town Hall. The replacement of the headquarters is on the list of capital projects being considered for funding by the Capital Budget Committee and the Board of Selectmen.
On of the last issues facing a revamped headquarters is finding an adequate location. For several years, the Belmont Public Library on Concord Avenue was the likely site for a new station if the town approved contraction of a new library. But three times in the past decades those plans have been scrapped.
The construction of a new headquarters is a high priority of Police Chief Richard McLaughlin.
The possibility of a modern headquarters for the police will be discussed at a precinct meeting tonight, Monday, Nov. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School auditorium.
Constructed in 1959, the incinerator operated until 1975, when it became the town’s transfer station for two decades. It is currently used by the Belmont DPW for equipment storage, leaf composting and placement of debris.
In January, Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation presented by State Rep. Dave Rogers authorizing the sale to the town of the state-owned land. The law allows Belmont to purchase the land after an appraisal determines the fair market value of the property. In addition, the town will be responsible for the site’s costly remediation of environmentally hazardous material.
Some of the possible uses for the site discussed in the past include a solar farm, recreational playing fields, open space, use by the Highway Department and even a marijuana plantation to supply the medical marijuana industry.