Belmont To Commemorate Veterans Day With Breakfast, Clay Pit Pond Events

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Belmont will be honoring all veterans of the US armed services at three events commemorating Veterans Day.

Wednesday Nov. 10

Belmont’s 7th annual Veterans Breakfast at 10 a.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., sponsored by East Cambridge Savings Bank. Free to all Veterans.

As a thank you to our local Veterans, the Belmont Council on Aging hosts its seventh annual Veterans’ Breakfast, free for Veterans, spouses, and families. Enjoy a hot breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and hash browns provided by our friend from the Diner at 11 North Beacon in Watertown. Belmont Hill School’s B-Flats will provide us with entertainment. A special thank you to East Cambridge Savings for once again sponsoring this special event. Please call 617-993-2976 to register.

Thursday, Nov. 11

At 10 a.m., there will be a short Veterans Dedication Ceremony held at the Open Door Baptist Church on Pleasant Street with Pastor Bob Butler presenting.

At noon, a Veteran’s Day gathering will take place at the Belmont Veteran’s Memorial at Clay Pit Pond. Bob Upton, Belmont’s Veterans Agent, will make some brief remarks. There is no Belmont schools Veterans Day Program this year and the VFW does not have an event scheduled.

New Clay Pit Path Set To Open Mid-November; Vets Memorial A Bit Later

Photo: Work has already begun on the new path around Clay Pit Pond.

It’s been more than two years after Town Meeting gave its OK, but finally, a premier Belmont recreation spot will soon have a new surface that the public will be able to use by Thanksgiving.

In fact, work on the Clay Pit Pond Intergenerational Walking Path had begun by contractor Ronald A Marini Corp. of Auburndale before the contract was signed by the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Sept. 17. The path’s route has been dug up and the ground is being prepped for the installation of the surface material

Marini, a firm Belmont Conservation Commission Agent Mary Trudeau said specializes in municipal parks and creating pathways, submitted the low bid of $388,000 which was accepted by the Selectmen.

The path will be permeable with a crushed stone top – quarried locally in West Roxbury – with drainage along the landscaped route.

Once completed, the path will “feel like you’re walking in a country meadow,” said Trudeau.

The path will stop where the proposed new high school will be built, but discussions with the school’s designers are for possible ways of “sharing” the area along the pond’s edge as a walkway, thus completing the path around Clay Pit. 

“It’s all very exciting,” said Trudeau.

While the contract signed by the board was for the path, in fact, the job includes work on the proposed Veterans Memorial at the Pond. “We really 

Glenn Clancy, director of the Office of Community Development, noted that the path and the Veterans Memorial were using Community Preservation Act funds – $216,550 for the path and $103,000 for the memorial – with an additional $68,450 being donated by the Belmont Veteran Memorial Fund to cover additional expenses not originally contemplated.

While the Veterans Memorial will take somewhat longer to complete – the low black granite markers for each of the conflicts Belmont residents are being made – “possibly the bulk of the work on the intergenerational path which will include hydroseeding the site will be completed by Veterans Day, Nov. 11,” said Trudeau.

Hands ’round the Pond: Belmont Stands Up for Safety and Civility

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In the spirit of being a welcoming community, while acknowledging the recent increase in hate crimes across the state and nation, residents of Belmont and surrounding communities are invited to join “Stand-Up for Safety – Hands Around the Pond” on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the Concord Avenue side of Clay Pit Pond in Belmont.

The highlight of the event will be a “hands around the pond,” a powerful visual statement of residents standing shoulder-to-shoulder and linking hands around the pond.

“We calculate that we’ll need about 1,000 people joining hands to reach around Clay Pit Pond,” said event co-chair Donna Ruvolo in a press release.

“It’s ambitious, but we have already heard from families, teachers, students, religious institutions and civic and youth organizations who are eager to be involved in this unprecedented event.”

“Our goal is to bring the community together to reaffirm our commitment to safety and civility,” said Ruvolo. 

“It is also our hope that residents who are feeling threatened or fearful know that we, as a community, will stand up to discrimination, harassment and bullying.”

In addition, residents will be able to review plans for the proposed Veterans’ Memorial at this location, and to acknowledge the service of local veterans who are currently championing the memorial project.

Due to the non-political and on-partisan nature of this event, participants are requested to refrain from carrying a sign or wearing clothing that is affiliated with an individual political candidate’s name or slogan. Participants are also encouraged to dress for the elements. 

Parking is available in the Belmont High School parking lot, and walking, biking and car-pooling are encouraged. This is a family friendly event suitable for all ages, but it is requested that all dogs except service dogs are kept at home.

This event is being coordinated by members of the Stand-Up Campaign, a non-political and non-partisan organization committed to kindness, decency and civil discourse.  The Stand-Up Campaign is a branch of Belmont Against Racism. Co-sponsors include the Belmont Human Rights Commission, The Belmont Veterans Memorial Committee and the Belmont Religious Council.

For more information, please contact belmontagainstracism@gmail.com

Look What Was Dragged Out Of Clay Pit Pond

Photo: The Clay Pit Pond Largemouth Bass.

On Sunday morning, May 22, Belmont High sophomore Brian Alper caught himself a damn good lookin’ largemouth bass coming in at an impressive eight-plus pounds. 

But it was where Alper reel in his catch that is just as jaw-dropping. No, he wasn’t on some crystal clear Berkshire County lake or in the wilds of Maine. Brian caught his bass in Clay Pit Pond.

CLAY PIT POND!

Yes, the man-made body of water – created in the late 1920s when the Wellington Brook was redirected into a pit where the New England Brick Company excavated clay for bricks – is unlikely to be on anyone’s list of fishin’ holes to find bass or much less anything living. For four decades, the land next to the pond was the town’s dump until the town opened the incinerator site near the Lexington town line in 1959.

In 1995, Belmont’s Conservation Commission asked the state to test the fish in Clay Pit Pond. Results showed unacceptably high levels of chlordane, a pesticide is associated with a variety of cancers. After the results were made public, the Massachusetts Public Health Department issued a public warning that is found on signs on the bank of the pond: “Do not eat fish caught in this pond. They may be poisoned with chemicals.”

For most residents, the creature most likely seen swimming in Clay Pit Pond is a rat or Blinky, the three-eyed orange fish found in the lake outside the nuclear power plant in “The Simpsons.” 

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But for Brian – who has been fishing Clay Pit for the past two years – and other hearty locals, the allure of casting a lure into a body of water outweighs most of the concerns they may face. And if Boston Harbor and the Charles River can be reclaimed to be “swimmable” after centuries of pollution, whose to say Belmont’s own “Pond” will one day … ummm, no. 

As for the bass – he was not named by Brian – he will continue to swim (it’s likely he has spent the past decade in the pond) contently in his watery home for now.

“Of course, it got thrown back. No one should EVER eat fish out of there,” said Brian’s father, David, the long-time chair of the town’s Board of Health. 

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Public Meeting on Intergenerational Walking Path at Clay Pit Pond

The Belmont Conservation Commission is sponsoring a public, interactive meeting with BETA Group to review initial design for Intergenerational Walking Path at Clay Pit Pond.  BETA Group, the landscape architects selected to create the phased Master Plan will be attending the meeting.  The meeting is open to the public.  This is a great opportunity to work with a professional design team and help create a community park at Clay Pit Pond.

The Community Preservation Act has funded this project to produce a phased, master plan to create a fully accessible, intergenerational walking path at Clay Pit Pond. As part of the proposal, the Commission continues to sponsor meetings to include suggestions and comments from local officials and residents interested in the Clay Pit Pond park.  The meeting will review the progress on the Master Plan, as drafted by BETA Group.