McLean To Propose Schools Building, Future R&D In Zone 4 Overlay District

Photo: The current Arlington School (Arlington School Facebook)

McLean Hospital will submit a proposal to build two buildings totaling 150,000 sq.ft. in the McLean District Zone 4 Overlay District to house an school building and research and development space.

The 11.58 acre development will be presented before the Select Board on Wednesday, June 26, and comes the day a Special Town Meeting vote to alter a traffic management and mitigation agreement the hosptial has with the town for a residential development in the district’s Zone 3.

This project would complete the build out of the 238 acres McLean set aside for development in a 1999 Memorandum of Agreement between the hosptial and Belmont.

“I have to admit I haven’t seen anything updated,” said Town Engineer Glen Clancy before a June 17 public meeting with the Select Board on changes to a traffic mitigation plan in a neighboring zone. “There may very well be something that I’m not aware of, [but] conceptually, this is pretty close.”

The proposal will see the hospital build two structures: a 90,000 sq.-ft. facility to house a relocated Arlington School, a college preparatory high school founded in 1961, and Pathways Academy, an off-site school aimed at helping students with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, a future 60,000 sq.-ft. research and development facility will join the schools, but which it has yet to attract a partner.

Clancy said McLean will seek site plan approval to develop within Zone 4 in advance of an application to the Planning Board in July. 

According to Stephen Kidder, an attorney representing McLean, the project will be a taxable development.

If the proposal sounds familiar, the hospital presented a nearly identical plan before a joint meeting of the Select and Planning boards in March 2020, within weeks of regular activity being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original plan has yet to receive a formal vote by town officials.

The current four-year delay was due to the hospital’s determination to move forward with the school project using philanthropic funding, which was time-consuming.”McLean is now at a point where it can go forward.”

According to Kidder, while the hospital has been interested in finding a developer for the R&D for the past two decades, despite a single inquiry in 2008, “there’s essentially been no further interest articulated.”

After 20 years of frustration attracting a research and development partner for the site, the hospital decided in 2020 to “establish a child and adolescent program on the site to deal with the incredible rise in mental health issues that are faced by children and adolescents these days,” said Hitter, a partner at Hemenway & Barnes.

Kidder noted that the town will tax both facilities as commercial property due to existing agreements between the town and the hospital.

“It’s clear any development on zones three and four is a taxable development. So even though the use would be an otherwise charitable use, and under Massachusetts state law would qualify for a tax exemption, this would be a fully taxable use because that’s the agreement that the claim made with the tenant,” said Kidder.

With the announcement made during a meeting to review changes to a traffic plan affecting Zone 3, Kidder noted, “The primary generator of traffic under this proposal for Zone 4 is the Arlington School. And that’s traffic that is already coming to the area.” With the transfer of the schools to their new site, traffic that currently takes Mill Street “will be shifted to Pleasant Street … but it is not new traffic being generated in the area.”

‘What A Day! Supporters Gather To Break Ground On Town’s New Library [Photos]

Photo: Groundbreaking for the new Belmont Public Library

“What a day!” proclaimed Clair Colburn, chair of the Library Building Committee,speaking before several dozen residents, volunteers, town and elected officials who gathered in a gravel bed where, by (give-or-take) Thanksgiving 2025, a 40,460 sf.-ft., two-story zero-net energy structure will open its door and become the new home of the Belmont Public Library.

Under a warm and sunny Wednesday morning, June 13, the building’s future transformed from blueprints and perspectives to heavy machinery and construction workers as library and town officials turned over soil during the official groundbreaking ceremony for the $39.5 million structure, with $5 million offset from 991 individual donor contributions.

“We are so happy to be celebrating the groundbreaking of this momentous project with all of you. There is not enough time to thank everybody who has helped bring this project to fruition,” said Colburn.

For Kathy Keohane, chair of the Board of Library Trustees, it’s been nearly a quarter century of quiet determination as she was involved with three earlier library proposals that fell to the wayside. On Wednesday, Keohane brought her toy “olympic” flame symbolizing three important aspects of the project: the journey, individual performances, and teamwork.

“We are on a journey. We’re at this milestone,” she said. “Most of all, this has been a labor of love and effort by many, many teams, individuals working together to make this happen.” She noted the work of Town Moderator Mike Weidmer in creating a building committee “that helped us get the right individuals with the right talent on the team,” and from the library’s leadership of Director Peter Struzziero and his staff “for all they do to make the library such a valuable, engaging place.”

Kathy Keohane, chair of the Board of Library Trustees, and Library Director Peter Struzziero

Finally, Keohane thanked “the residents and the patrons of the library. You have made us the 10 best circulating library in the state of Massachusetts. We are the little train that could behind giants of Newton and others but it’s because of your love for the library and what it means to you.”

State Sen. Will Brownsberger noted that “this generation of volunteer leaders, partnering with our wonderful professional staff, has driven a program of capital upgrade and improvement or replacement that was just very fundamentally necessary to being the community we want to be.”

Speaking for the Select Board, Vice Chair Elizabeth Dionne said the library will be more than a repository of media and books. “Perhaps its most important service will be to foster an ongoing sense of community as town demographics change, and we seek means a greater connection and belonging. And the new library will allow this to happen.”

Clair Colburn, chair of the Library Building Committee

“It will also serve as a visible signal of Belmonts commitment to community, whether that is supporting young children in their early development, parents needing support raising those children organization seeking space in which to meet or adults of any age who simply need to see a friendly face,” Dionne said.

“It will be a lynchpin of the town’s completely renovated, academic and recreational center,” said Dionne, joining the Underwood Pool, a new skating rink set to open in 2025 and the middle and high school.

With shovels in hand and ready for photographs, Colburn was prepared to “look forward to an incredible future. Thank you again for your support over the many years and onwards,” said Colburn.

Why Wait? Underwood Pool Opening One Day Early On Wednesday, June 19

Photo: Early opening for the Underwood Pool

The children are out of school for the summer, and a heatwave has descended on Belmont. Why wait to open the Underwood Pool? So, the town’s Recreation Department has decided to start the 2024 summer pool season one day early on Wednesday, June 19.

The pool, located at the corner of Concord Avenue and Cottage Street, will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the last day of Spring.

The June 19th opening is being sponsored by Belmont Youth Activities and D.A.R.E.

With The State-Wide ‘9-1-1’ System Down, Use These Numbers For Emergencies In Belmont

Photo: Belmont Police

With the Massachusetts ‘9-1-1’ system down and out as of Tuesday, June 18, the Belmont Police Dept. is advising Belmont residents who have police, fire, or medical emergencies to call Belmont Police on these alternate phone numbers:

  • 617-484-1212
  • 617-484-1300

Residents should not use 911 until the system is restored.

If there is an emergency outside of Belmont, contact the Massachusetts State Police at 508-820-2121.

Juneteenth: What Open/Closed In Belmont; Trash/Recycling Delayed By A Day

Photo: The Juneteenth flag (credit: Wikipedia)

This year, on Wednesday, June 19, the country celebrates Juneteenth National Independence Day. It is a federal and Massachusetts holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. (Thank you, Wikipedia)

Trash and recycling pick-up will be delayed by a day.

Here is what’s closed and what’s open on Juneteenth:

  • Belmont Town Hall and town offices: Closed
  • Belmont Public Library (at the Beech Street Center and the Benton Library): Closed
  • Belmont Public Schools: Summer recess began last week
  • State and Federal government offices: Closed.
  • US Postal Service: Both Belmont post offices are closed; express delivery only.

Most retail operations are open for the new holiday.

  • Retail stores and coffee shops: Open
  • Liquor stores: Open.
  • Supermarkets: Open.
  • Convenience stores: Open.
  • Taverns, bars: Open.
  • Banks: Closed.

The MBTA will operate on its regular weekday schedule for those who want to use public transportation.

Belmont Opens Cooling Centers To Help Alleviate Midweek Heat Wave

Photo: Cooling center opened for all residents

With temperatures during a midweek heat wave expected to reach the mid-90s to over 100 degrees, Belmont is providing a pair of cooling centers to help all residents stay comfortable and safe during the peak of the hot weather.

The Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., will be open on Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Center will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, as part of the Juneteenth holiday.

The Belmont Media Center, at 9 Lexington St., will be open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Water will be provided at both locations.

Sweet 6! Belmont Girls’ Rugby Romps To Sixth Consecutive State Title Over Weymouth

Photo: Co-Capt. Mia Taylor lifts the state championship trophy after Belmont won its sixth consecutive title, defeating Weymouth, 80-0, on Saturday, June 15, at Curry College.

In a near flawless performance of top-flight rugby, Belmont High School Girls Rugby secured its sixth consecutive MIAA Division 1 state title, romping past a young, scrappy Weymouth squad, 80-0, at Curry College on Saturday, June 15.

The victory continues Belmont’s dominance in the tournament. The Marauders have won every championship game since 2017, when Belmont scored 17 unanswered points to defeat Algonquin Regional High School 17-14 in a true nailbiter.

Belmont HIgh School, the 2024 Div. 1 Girls’ Rugby State Champions

According to Kate McCabe, who started the varsity team a decade ago and has led the squad to each of its half dozen championship victories, it has been “a privilege” to coach what she and her players have created both this season and as a program.

“No one’s showing up because I’m so much fun to hang out with,” said McCabe. “It’s the players that made a family and a system that people feel empowered to be a part of even when they come in knowing nothing about rugby,” she said.

For senior outside center and co-captain Mia Taylor, the victory culminates in a personal three-peat of state championships.

”This team is just incredible. Every day, I’m excited to go to practice. I love these girls so much,” said Taylor, who will soon be off to UC San Diego, where she will continue playing rugby.

Belmont senior Mia Taylor on her way to a hat trick.

While Belmont came into the game unbeaten in 2024, having defeated Weymouth 26-12 in the first match of the season, the Marauders have had its handful with the Wildcats. In its past two encounters, Weymouth kept the matches close until late, including holding the lead early in the 2023 state semi-finals.

Belmont was anything but dominant in the first five minutes, losing its first four possessions on a series of miscues and nerves. But McCabe allowed the team seniors to take care of adjustments on the pitch.

“The coaches didn’t talk to you,” McCabe told her team after the game. “Nobody stepped onto the field. We let you lead, and you played off each other that whole time. Your voices were heard, and they were repeated together, supporting one another. We could not be more proud.”

Belmont’s stellar backline defending shut out Weymouth

Belmont dominated the defensive side of the ball. The front eight prevented Weymouth from putting in a positive phase, with the Wildcats inside Belmont’s 22 meters just once in the first 35 minutes. Belmont’s backs – led by senior wing Ally Caputo and junior Robyn Tonomura-MacDonald – never allowed Weymouth’s swift wings and full-back to break free turning the corners.

Senior lock Sally Amer secured her brace, scoring in the 15th and 23rd minutes, with the first a 10-meter run when she ran over two defenders before lunging into a try. Her second was more impressive: stealing a Weymouth scrum and moments later taking a straight line to try for the five points.

It didn’t take long for Belmont to right the ship, with Taylor grabbing her first try on a run around the right side after nine minutes. It was left up for Belmont’s senior fly half and kicking specialist Lucy “Buzz” Kabrhel to nail the two-point conversion from the most acute angle for the 7-0 lead.

Belmont senior wing Ally Caputo on her way for the team’s fourth try against Weymouth

Moments after receiving the kick, Caputo discovered a crease in Weymouth’s front line and streaked 60 meters for Belmont’s fourth try of the half. Three minutes later, Kabrhel found herself with a meadow of space and slalomed into try. With her conversion, Belmont would enter halftime with a 33-0 lead.

Despite being up by five tries, a rugby advantage is never secure as the scoring team receives the ball after a try and can dictate the game. But Belmont would allow the Wildcats just a single drive close to its try line before senior prop Olivia “Liv” Mann propelled herself to try after Belmont ran a master class in bringing the ball down the pitch. Taylor would throw down a brace within six minutes to complete her hat trick, and the rout was on. Mann, senior lock Abby Hill, junior “Number 8” Sadie Taylor, and Becca Michaud finished the scoring.

With Kabrhel’s 11th of 13 conversion kicks sailing through the uprights, the referee blew his whistle, and Belmont would celebrate its most dominating performance of the five previous state finals.

“It’s a long game, and over the course of the playoff run, we tell them, ‘You play the very best that you have. Give it your all, put it all on the field.’ And today, you can see people were just running as hard as they possibly could, and it was really beautiful to see,” said McCabe.

When Taylor was presented with the state championship trophy, she immediately started jumping up and down, her smile as bright as the sparkling late spring sunshine, expressing everything she and the team were feeling.

“My senior year meant so much to finish it here with every one of my teammates. I’m going to miss this so much,” Taylor said as she carried the trophy off the pitch.

Belmont Pride March Along Concord Avenue, Belmont Center On Saturday, June 15

Photo: Belmont Pride March is this Saturday, June 15

Belmont LGBTQ+ Alliance, Belmont Against Racism, and Human Rights Campaign are holding the annual Belmont Pride March and Celebration on Saturday, June 15, at 1 p.m., starting at the Belmont Town Green across from First Church Belmont at 404 Concord Ave.

The day will begin at 12:45 p.m. with opening remarks as residents gather before the parade. The parade will include a short march along Concord Avenue up to Belmont High School before returning through Belmont Center back to the Green. The route is relatively flat and accommodating for everyone.

Belmont High Girls’ Rugby Back For Sixth State Title Game Vs Tough Weymouth Squad

Photo: Belmont Girls’ Rugby in the title game again

Belmont High Girls’ Rugby will seek its six consecutive MIAA Division 1 state championship this Saturday after the Marauders made quick work of Lincoln Sudbury Regional, 71-5, in the state semi-finals match held at Harris Field, June 5.

The undefeated and top-ranked Marauders (7-0) will meet a scrappy third-seed Weymouth squad (5-2) in the title game taking place at 2 p.m., on Saturday, June 15 at Curry College in Milton. The Wildcats sprinted away late from Algonquin Regional in its 60-29 semifinal victory.

Tickets can be purchased at

After an early scare in which Belmont thwarted a Lincoln-Sudbury push deep inside Marauder territory, it was all Belmont as the team pilled up 35 points in the first 20 minutes as it shut out the Warriors in the first half. Junior Robyn Tonomura-MacDonald totaled four of Belmont’s 11 tries while playing stellar defense.

Saturday’s game will be a rematch of the first match of the season which Belmont waited late before pulling away. After scoring two tries quickly, Weymouth came within two – 14-12 – at the half. Weymouth held the advantage for most of the second half before two outstanding long run tries by Mia Taylor gave the Marauders the 27-12 victory.

Belmont Invited (With Proper Footwear) To The Groundbreaking For The New Public Library Wednesday, June 12

Photo: Poster for the groundbreaking for the new Belmont Public Library

With the proposed Municipal Skating Rink receiving the bulk of the news since February, residents’ attention finally crosses Concord Avenue in what’s being called an “exciting week” for Belmont’s new library.

At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, the Belmont Public Library Building Committee will host the official groundbreaking for the new library at 336 Concord Ave. Being built on the site of the former facility, the 41,500 square foot, two-story structure is expected to be completed by the fall of 2025.

The celebration is open to the public, but there is one requirement for attending: please wear closed-toe shoes. It is a construction site!

One day before the groundbreaking on Tuesday, June 11, the building committee is anticipating some “additional exciting news” it will be able to share.