Photo: Work closing Leonard Street in Belmont Center
When the Belmont Select Board voted to allow the closure of Leonard Street for the summer at its Monday, June 8 meeting, most people were expecting the actual shutdown of the roadway through Belmont’s largest business center to take place sometime during the summer.
But only two and a half days later on Thursday morning, jersey barriers were in place, a long-line of rusting crowd-control steel barricades were coming being set up by Belmont Department of Public Works crews and town officials had completed the task they said they would do be done.
And while some business owners were caught unawares and the stray parked SUV was suddenly fenced in, the operation was completed without that much of a snag and Belmont Center will be vehicle free until the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, Sept. 8.
And if the change to a walkable center is a success, it could continue into the late fall.
The closing of the street – from Alexander and Moore streets – is an attempt to help restaurants and eateries during the Phase 2 reopening of the state economy during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. During this stage, restaurants are allowed to serve al fresco with outdoor dining.
Belmont town officials decided to help out the eatery owners by providing added space to the limited sidewalk area they could use by expanding in the street.
And despite some hiccups, by Saturday, the first tables and chairs were out in the warm spring night with customers waiting to finally eat out by eating outside.