The Belmont Board of Selectmen selected five residents – each with their specific skill set – to determine not just the best route for a community path to transverse Belmont, but also how to pay for it.
The Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee takes over from the Community Path Advisory Committee which completed its work in May after it researching and then developing a number of possibly combined bike/walking routes from Waltham to Cambridge.
“The desired outcome of this entire process is to have the community path built,” said Andy Rojas.
“The ultimate intent isn’t for a study … it’s for a physical path to be built that services the town and mitigates the negative and highlights all the positive impacts,” said Rojas.
The residents appointed to the committee are:
- Brian Burke
- Michael Cicalese
- Heather Ivester
- Russell Leino
- Vincent Stanton
Each member comes with work experience or involvement with the proposed community path in the past. Burke was a member of the CPAC and will bring continuity to the process. Cicalese was selected to raise residents’ concerns to the group as a likely route will impact the Channing Road neighborhood. Ivester is a state licensed structural engineer while Leino is an attorney.
Stanton, who Selectman Mark Paolillo noted has been responsible for extending Belmont Town Meeting nights with his array of knowledgeable quires, is well-known in town for his divergent thinking and novel ideas and solutions to any number of issues facing the community.
The committee’s charge from the selectmen is to come to a consensus on the best path but also to uncover outside funding – be it private or from the state or federal governments – to pay for a good portion of the trail and also the evaluation and analysis of the potential of a proposed project.
“It’s pretty clear that this body needs to commit some how … identify public sources of funding to do a feasibility study,” said Rojas.
“We can then pursue other government grants for the implementation, but we need that feasibility study in hand,” he added.
According to several members of a pro-community path group that Paolillo noted at the meeting, “with a feasibility component, there could be significant funds from the state level for a path.”
The study will also provide the Selectmen – who will make the final decision on the route and if the project will move forward – the economics of building specific routes through Belmont.
“While not set in stone, that we would expect the feasibility study would give us input on the route options before we make up our minds,” said Rojas.