Underwood Pool’s ‘Last’ Days this Weekend

Belmont residents – the few still in town during the Labor Day holiday – were anticipating to witness the final days of the Underwood Pool, the oldest continuously serving outdoor municipal pool in the US, as it prepares to shut down for the final time since opening its doors a few weeks after the Titanic sank in 1912.

After 102 years, the historic pool would be open for one last weekend before shutting down.

But with news earlier this week that Woburn-based Seaver Construction withdrew its low bid to build a new Underwood Pool complex – the only one of five bidders who was within the $4.9 million construction budget – the future of the existing oval-shaped pool has grown a bit murky as town officials scramble to determine their next move on the already designed new two pool complex scheduled to open on the first day of summer 2015.

Town departments, officials and the new pool’s building committee will meet at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3 to discuss any next steps that can be taken.

For those residents who wish to take a “final” plunge into the historic facility, the pool’s Labor Day weekend schedule is:

  • Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29 and 30: 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 31: 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
  • Monday, Sept. 1 (the “final” day): noon to 4 p.m.


Comparing Homes: Belmont, Mass and Belmont, Miss

Belmont, Mississippi, located hard on the Alabama state line in the northeastern corner of the state, has everything you need for country living: wide open spaces, nearby lakes, cheap land and not that many people so you won’t feel crowded. There are barely 2,000 folks in this town – the entire school system has just over 1,500 students – with little in the way of industry in that part of Tishomingo County where the median income for a household in the town was $29,702, and the median income for a family was $37,639.

So what sort of house can you buy in Belmont, Mississippi and here, in the Bay State’s Belmont for the same amount?Frankly, it’s a bit more difficult than one would expect as many residential structures in “The Magnolia State” barely reach the lowest price for the most basic condo in the “Town of Homes.” But one does breach the minimum benchmark, and it’s the most expensive house on the market in 38827 zip code.

For approximately $685,000, you get a lot in Belmont, Mississippi: a lakefront farmhouse at 23 Country Road 76 which overlooks a stocked six acre spring-fed lake (one of four ponds on the property) on 160 acres of land. That’s a quarter square mile! The single-story main building is 3,400 sq.-ft. with five beds, three-and-a-half bath with a stone fireplace, cathedral ceiling and a large eat-in kitchen. The house also has a typical Southern semi wrap-around porch along with an oversized double garage. “Lots of Deer and Turkey on this land also. Hunt and Fish and Garden on you very own Property!!!”

Here in Belmont, Mass., for $679,000, the buyer can purchase a 65-year-old Garrison-styled Colonial at 24 Eliot Rd., a whopping 1,418 sq.-ft. with seven rooms, three beds and one-and-a-half baths. You also get a one car attached garage that includes a breezeway as well as additional parking for two in the driveway. As for water, you will only be a few hundred feet from other Little Pond and Clay Pit Pond (although you will need to cross the MBTA tracks to get to Clay Pit). You will have land out back, just a hundredth of the size you’d get down south.

We’re Closed: Belmont Shuts Down for Labor Day Weekend

The Labor Day holiday the last big get away weekend of the summer and Belmont is shutting down early.

All Belmont Town offices and Belmont Light will close their doors at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29; the last early-close of the summer. Beginning Sept. 5, offices will close at 4 p.m.

The Belmont Public Library will close at 5 p.m. Friday and stay shut until Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 9 a.m. So check out DVDs, CDs and beach reads today.

Labor Day is one of ten holidays recognized by the federal government, although the feds don’t require employers to pay workers for this holiday. Businesses traditionally provide their employees with a paid holiday as part of a benefits package because most other employers do the same.

What else will be closed on Monday, Sept. 1?

US Postal Service offices and regular deliveries.

Banks; although some branches will be open in some supermarkets.

MBTA: Operating on a Sunday schedule. See www.mbta.com for details.


• Retail stores

• Coffee shops; Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are open

• Supermarkets

• Convenience stores and,

• Establishments that sell beer and wine are also allowed to be open. Bars and taverns are also open but Belmont doesn’t have any so …

Belmont High Ranks High in Boston Mag Ranking

In its 2014 annual ranking of High Schools from the greater Boston region, Belmont High School is pegged at 13th by Boston Magazine in its coming September issue.

This year’s ranking is 10 places higher than in 2013.

The poll has placed neighboring Lexington High as the second highest ranked public high school while nearby Winchester (number 10) and Newton South (5th) rate higher than Belmont.

Only public schools within the Greater Boston I-495 boundary were included. 

Belmont Courts Role in Attorney General Race

Maura Healey takes a three-point shot and “swish” – nothing but net.

The candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General who is battling long-time politician Warren Tolman to replace Martha Coakley (who Healey worked for as an assistant AG before resigning to run for the position) is seen taking the ball to the hoop on an outdoor court in her first television campaign ad released Tuesday, Aug. 6.

“When you’re a five-four pro basketball player, you learn to take on the big guys,” says a narrator as Healey stands under the basket as the ad recalls her time as an outstanding hoopster at Harvard and as a pro in Austria.

Upon closer inspection of the ad, Healey is hitting her shots on the basketball court at Belmont’s Grove Street Playground across from Belmont Cemetery.

Could it be that Healey selected the site due to her long-time friendship on and off-the-court with Belmont’s Melissa Hart?

“I’m not sure why she chose Grove Street and did not ask her when I saw her the other day, but I did tell her that was where I grew up shooting around and practicing on my own,” said Hart, a star athlete at Belmont High and Hamilton College and currently Belmont High’s girls’ basketball head coach.

As someone who first got to know Healey as a member of a competitive recreation basketball league the two joined to stay active in the sport, the Oakley Road resident believes the former Harvard basketball captain has the skill set to be successful in state-wide office as she has been on the court.

“I think Maura is a natural in the political arena because she is genuine, sharp, and willing to stand up and fight, but has a great warmth about her evident from anyone who meets her,” said Hart.

“I have not heard of someone who has met her and spoken to her that has not liked her and been impressed with her actually. She is committed to the law and to civil rights and justice. Maura does not want any political office she can be elected to, Maura wants the job of the attorney general,” said Hart, who invited Healey to participate at the Belmont youth basketball clinic last fall.

As for taking on Healey on the court, Hart said she is fortunate to have had the former pro on her side most of the time.

“Luckily Maura was always on my team, even if we were all just splitting up to play. I am not sure I can remember too many times she was on the opposite team or maybe wanted to forget!” said Hart.

Sold in Belmont: Go(l)den Street Tudor Tops Seven Figures

A weekly recap of residential properties bought in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

• 38-40 Falmouth St. Mulifamily (1913), Sold for: $820,000. Listed at $849,000. Living area: 3,334 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 48 days.

 73 Scott Rd. Garrison-style colonial (1938), Sold for: $749,000. Listed at $749,000. Living area: 1,891 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 76 days.

 51-53 Gilbert Rd. Condominium, Sold for: $365,000. Listed at $389,000. Living area: 1,103 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 47 days.

 267 Waverley Rd. Antique Colonial (1890). Sold for: $606,000. Listed at $619,000. Living area: 1,697 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 67 days.

 52 Burnham St. #3, Condominium, Sold for: $495,000. Listed at $449,000. Living area: 1,270 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 36 days.

 196 Goden St. Classic brink Tudor (1938), Sold for: $1,099,000. Listed at $1,099,000. Living area: 2,957 sq.-ft. 11 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 56 days.

Rev. Zarro Sings on Market Day in Belmont

The summer harvest continues to come in at the Belmont Farmers Market today. Basil, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, chard, cilantro, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, kale, mint, nectarines, onions, parsley, peaches, peppers, pumpkin greens, radishes, scallions, squash blossoms, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips, yu choi and zucchini are in season.

The Belmont Farmers Market is open from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Belmont Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Channing Road and Cross Street behind the Belmont Center shopping district.

This week, guest vendors are Coastal Vineyards, Matt’s Amazing Smokehouse, Sugar + Grain, Soluna Garden Farm and Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm. For a list of weekly vendors, visit the market’s Web site.

This Week’s Food Truck: Jamaica Mi Hungry, starting at 4 p.m. Try the jerk chicken this week.

In the Events Tent

The ABC program “The Middle” has a character named Rev. Timothy “Tim-Tom” Thomas, a guitar-playing youth minister who can solve the problems of a teenager with a song. And Belmont has its own singing pastor as Rev. Joe Zarro, pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church on Pleasant Street, will perform under the red events tent from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• The Belmont Public Library sponsors storytime for preschool and older children from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Tastings: Arlington Mexican restaurant La Posada at 2 p.m. and Belmont’s Spirited Gourmet at 4:30 p.m.

Belmont Food Pantry
Bring non-perishable items each week to the Market tent. The Market has supported the Pantry with nonperishable food collection over the years, along with donations of fresh produce from the Market’s community garden project.

SNAP Payments

The market accepts and doubles SNAP benefits (formerly called Food Stamps) up to an extra $25 per Market day while matching funds last. Your donations to our parent organization, the Belmont Food Collaborative (belmontfood.org), help with programs like this. You can donate securely on the web site, or mail a check to PO Box 387, Belmont, MA 02478. We appreciate your support!

Belmont Meets Everyone at Annual Event

Residents turned out in force Tuesday evening, Aug. 27, as the 12th annual Meet Belmont took place in the Chenery Middle School lunch room as it seemingly does, on one of the warmest days of the season.

What is becoming a traditional “end of summer” event on the calendar (school begins in eight days) more than 100 exhibitors – the first time Meet Belmont had reached that landmark figure – representing town departments, organizations and groups were part of a large “meet and greet” with several hundred longtime and new residents.

“It’s an opportunity to get our message across,” said Florence Lefebvre of Belmont Against Racism.

Around the room, groups like the PTOs of the six public schools sought members as town departments provided a glimpse of what they do around the “Town of Homes.” Groups – such as the recently established Mother Out Front that hopes to facilitate climate change controls – and those a century old like the Belmont Dramatic Club, which pressed the flesh through the scheduled two-and-a-half hours.

In addition, approximately 40 new voters were registered by the town, according to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

“We are very pleased,” said Sara Oaklander, who along with Jennifer Page, has run the event since its inception in 2002.

“The turnout was great, the guests seemed to appreciate it and the exhibitors were very enthusiastic about the turnout and about their own exposure,” said Oaklander.

Both women said they were already planning for next year’s event the moment they finish packing away this year’s material.

“We have been receiving feedback from both exhibitors and guests, and we will try to incorporate some of those suggestions next year,” she noted.

Meet Belmont is sponsored by the Vision 21 Implementation Committee and co-sponsored by the Belmont Public Schools with support from Belmont Car Wash and Belmont Light.


New Turf Gets First Game Use With Girls’ Soccer Tussle

Paul Graham was in fine voice on Tuesday, Aug. 26, as his latest edition of the Belmont High School Girls’ Soccer took to Harris Field for the season’s first scrimmage against Westford Academy.

“We can’t do that!” said Graham to the Belmont defenders who scurried back into position as assistant coach Stacie Marino took note of the performance of the myriad of freshmen on the field as a handful of fans and family took shelter under umbrellas. 

The scrimmage was also the first game-like action to take place on the field’s newly installed Turf, part of the $850,000 renovation of the track and the surface of the field that took place over the summer.

Most of the players commented on the thick padding that slowed down the ball, a condition that Belmont High Athletic Director Jim Davis said will lessen as the field settles as games are played.

As for the scrimmage, the “friendly” ended 1-1 as Sophia Eisenbach-Smith scored while goalie Linda Herlihy stopped three breakaways late in the game.


New Underwood Pool in Flux as Low Bidder Leaves Belmont High and Dry

The sudden departure of the construction company set to build the new Underwood Pool complex has left the future the town’s facility in flux as officials prepare to convene to discuss Belmont’s options in completing the project by next year.

“We are disappointed that Seaver Construction decided to withdraw its bid, as we were looking forward to working with them to build the new Underwood Pool,” said Adam Dash, the vice chair of the Underwood Pool Building Committee which oversees the pool’s design and construction.

The Belmont Board of Selectmen has announced that it will be holding a special meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 8 a.m. to discuss the fate of the new complex with the Underwood Pool Building Committee at Town Hall.

Under the Building Committee’s tentative timeline, construction on the two-pool complex was scheduled to begin in September with completion by the first day of summer 2015, replacing the 102-year-old existing structure.

There is no official word whether the committee’s time schedule remains viable at this late date.

Not only was the Woburn-based company the lowest of four bids to build the $5.2 million project, Seaver was also the only firm to stay within the established budget.

According to a press release from the Belmont Department of Public Works, Seaver withdrew its bid “on the grounds of having made a clerical error” in determining their cost in completing the project.

Under state law, public construction regulations prevent adjustments from being made after bids are submitted.

But even calculating in the error, according to the DPW, Seaver’s bid would have still been within the project’s budget and would have remained the low bid.

Seaver has built several projects in Belmont, including il Casale Restaurant in Belmont Center, converting a private house into the Belmont Hill School new Alumni Center and a high-end residential home at 365 Marsh St.

Dash said the committee “would like to review the options going forward with the Town Administrator [David Kale] and the Board of Selectmen.”