Town Accepts Belmont Savings’ Gift Of A Town Clock For The ‘Delta’

Photo: Hal Tovin, Belmont Saving’s executive vice president and Kayla Murphy, vice president, senior marketing manager with the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation’s Town Clock proposal.

Soon, commuters and residents will know just how late they are running passing through Belmont Center as the Board of Selectmen last week accepted a new town clock to be placed in the “delta” in front of Belmont Savings Bank whose foundation is providing the funding. 

The 15 foot tall, four face clock, black with gold highlights that will include a plaque from the foundation about the gift, will be manufactured by the Electric Time Company of Medfield, a leading tower, post and bracket clock firm (they made the street clocks at DisneyWorld, restored the clock at Harvard’s Dunster House and installed clocks in the scoreboards at AT&T Park in San Francisco and Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field). 

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, created in 2012 a year after the bank converted from the mutual holding company to stock holding company, is spending $26,000 for the clock and its installation on the “delta,” said Hal Tovin, Belmont Saving’s executive vice president, COO and a director of the Foundation. Since its inception, the foundation has provided $1 million in grants and gifts to non-profits in the communities the bank does business. 

The idea of a town clock was proposed by Bob Morrissey, the foundation’s chair, a gift to the town that is purposeful, recognizable and a centerpiece for “a sophisticated town center.” The delta – which had a controversial creation – was created during the renovation/reconstruction of Belmont Center completed in 2016. The town will be responsible for the maintenance and cleaning after the clock is installed. 

Just where the clock will be located is still up in the air. While the bank had proposed it close to the corner of Leonard Street and Concord Avenue near the historic horse water trough (with the upside down “1884” date), Selectmen Chair Adam Dash said town and police input should be provided to all the tower not to be a visual impediment to drivers entering the Center.

While the selectmen warmly accepted the gift from the bank, just who will have final say on where and if it can be installed without bumping up into town bylaws. Office of Community Development Director Glenn Clancy noted the clock will require a zoning review as it likely falls under the signage provisions.

Charles Clark, the Planning Board chair, said the best way to look at the clock is as a sign “and if so it doesn’t meet the signage bylaw” due to height and other considerations. But Clark also said that since clocks are not specifically noted in the zoning code, it will likely fall under a catch-all “other” category which will free it from a lengthy special permit process.

According to Tovin, the clock could be up and running soon after final approval by the town is completed. 

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