Town Opens Belmont Library As Cooling Center During Weekend Heat Wave

Photo: The Belmont Public Library will be a cooling center over the weekend

Due to the current period of high heat and humidity, the Belmont Public Library at 336 Concord Ave. will open as a Cooling Center over the next few days, according to a release from the town.

The hours will be as follows: 

  • Friday Aug. 5: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday Aug. 6: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday Aug. 7: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“We encourage everyone to stay cool and hydrated,” said the release. “We ask you to check on elderly friends and neighbors, and others who may need help, during this period of high heat and humidity.”  

Letter To The Editor: Fundraising For New Library Hits $5 Million Mark

To the editor:

We are excited to announce that the Belmont Library Building Project has received an historic $2 million grant intention from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, bringing fundraising for a new library building to a milestone moment: $5 million and counting.

The $2 million grant intention for the new library building from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation is unprecedented for the Foundation, the Town of Belmont, and of course, the Belmont Public Library Building Project. For the past 11 years, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation has supported important charitable purposes that significantly impact the Belmont community, including education and literacy, athletics and arts, food security, playgrounds, and the Underwood Pool. With the $2 million grant intention, contingent on a debt exclusion, the Foundation will create a lasting legacy through the Belmont Public Library that will improve life for Belmont residents.

Fundraising totals for the Library Building Project have now crossed the $5 million milestone and continue to grow. The fundraising team from the non-profit Belmont Library Foundation has created an inclusive fundraising effort that encourages participation at whatever level is appropriate for each donor, and the community has responded. More than 850 people and organizations have made contributions and pledges ranging from $1 to $2 million

Private donations are a crucial component of funding for the Belmont Library Building Project. The $5 million in available funds and pledges – restricted for the construction of a new library building – will offset the amount of public funding required for the project and reduce the financial impact on Belmont residents. To learn more about making a donation for the new library building and recognition opportunities, visit www.newlibraryfund.org.

The Library Building Project took another notable step forward last week when the Belmont Select Board voted to include a debt exclusion vote for the new library building on the Nov. 8 election ballot. The serious issues with the old library building make it imperative that the project move forward as soon as possible, and the Select Board’s endorsement of the project and action to send it to Belmont voters reflect the urgent need to replace the building. The debt exclusion is the next big step to achieve the greenlight for the project. For more information about the Belmont Library Building Project, please visit www.belmontlibraryfoundation.org.

We want to thank Belmont residents and organizations for their commitment to building a new library for our community. Together we have come far, and with these funding milestones, we are closer to making the new library the reality for Belmont.

Kathy Keohane, vice-chair, Belmont Board of Library Trustees
Marcie Schorr Hirsch, president, Belmont Library Foundation

Belmont Opens Cooling Centers Over Weekend During Heat Wave

Photo: The town has opened cooling center over the weekend

Due to the current heat wave, the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech St, and the Belmont Public Library at 336 Concord Ave, will be open as cooling centers this weekend, according to a press release from the town. 

The hours will be as follows: 

Beech Street Center:  

  • Saturday, July 23, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 24, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Belmont Public Library: 

  • Friday, July 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for a free movie night
  • Saturday, July 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

“We encourage everyone to stay cool and hydrated,” read the press release. “We ask you to check on elderly friends and neighbors, and others who may need help, during this period of high heat and humidity.”

Select Board Places New Belmont Library On November Ballot As Fundraising Reaches $5 Million Mark

Photo: It’s now up to the voters in November to decide the fate of a new Belmont Public Library.

Twenty-three years after it was first proposed, a new Belmont Public Library will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot as the Select Board unanimously approved placing a $39.5 million debt exclusion to build a 42,000 square-foot structure at the library’s present location at 336 Concord Ave. at its July 18 meeting.

“I think we’ve come to a point where we really don’t have the luxury of waiting much longer,” said Select Board Member Roy Epstein and putting the decision in the voters hands.

The decision came a week before the board was set to decide whether to place debt exclusions for the library and a new municipal skating facility before voters on the November election.

“I don’t have any problem putting up the library tonight,” said Board Member Adam Dash. ”There’s nothing left to talk about,” as the project has been throughly vetted since it began in 2018 and any more delays will result in escalated costs, he said.

The board’s vote came after an announcement earlier in the meeting when library supporters reported raising $5 million in funds and commitments to support the new building. The big news Monday was a $2 million grant – provided if the debt exclusion passes – from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation to support the project.

“The Belmont Savings Bank was a pillar of the community for so many years, much like the library is now and will continue to be in the new building that serves the needs of the entire community,” said Gail Mann of the Board of Library Trustees. ”We are close to $5 million in funding with [more than] 850 donors with additional donations since then.”

“Five million dollars raised is incredible and it’s growing beyond that,” said Chair Mark Paolillo. “It shows the residents of this community that there’s incredible support for this library.”

“And all the dollars that get donated is one less dollar we have to issue in the debt exclusion and makes the project that much better,” said Dash.

For the campaigners who have been in the forefront of creating a new library, its efforts now transfers to convincing a majority of voters in the next 113 days to pass a debt exclusion in the $34 million range.

“There will be a political ’Yes’ campaign now that we are officially on the ballot,” said Peter Struzziero, library director. He said while he and his staff will not be advocating for a vote, they still can provide information on the project.

”We’ve held more than 50 meetings with every group, official and unofficial, that we could and we plan to hold more information sessions going forward,” said Trustee Chair Elaine Alligood.

“I think there is a lot of community support. I think there has been a ton of outreach by the trustees, the [Belmont Library] Foundation, the Friends of the Belmont Library and Peter Struzziero and his staff,” said Mann.

Struzziero said that unlike the previous two proposals which relied on state funding and support, this project ”is the first one that was ever completely driven by Belmont residents.

”It’s also the smallest building that’s ever been proposed and it’s got the most fundraising now of any project in the history of Belmont. There’s a lot of things that are different about this time around and this time, we’re confident that the voters will make the decision that’s best for the community,” said Struzziero.

Learn About A New Belmont Library At Virtual Public Forum Thursday, June 9

Photo: A drawing of the facade of the new Belmont Public Library

The Belmont Public Library Building Committee will be presenting the seventh open public forum on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m.via ZOOM. The forum will give residents and patrons an opportunity to see the new library’s plans including site plan, floor plan, budget, timeline, and exterior and interior renderings.

The forum will be held virtually: participants can register for the Zoom link or click here to join: https://tinyurl.com/yc5kf3v3

League Of Women Voters Holding Brown Bag Lunch To Hear Latest On Proposed Library

Photo: A rendering of the proposed Belmont Public Library.

The Belmont League of Women Voters will be holding a virtual Brown Bag Lunch Talk titled:

Belmont Library: Where are we? How do we get a new one? with Kathy Keohane, chair of the Library Board of Trustees, and Peter Struzziero, Belmont Library Director.

The lunch will take place on Friday, May 20 from Noon to 1:30 p.m.

The meeting will be on Zoom: Meeting ID: 880 3835 5536, Passcode: LWV or you can follow along by going to this link.

Snow Emergency Starts Thursday Night; Town Buildings Closed Friday; Friday Trash Pickup Delayed

Photo: If it’s on the street Friday, you might see it going away

With a foot of snow ready to be dumped on the heads of residents, the town of Belmont has declared a snow emergency effective Thursday, Feb. 24 at 11:45 p.m. until the town says otherwise.

A parking ban will also be in effect for all roadways and municipal and school parking lots. If the town finds your vehicle in said areas, it will be towed at your expense.

Due to the expected inclement weather and unsafe road conditions, Belmont town offices and the Belmont Public Library will be closed on Friday, Feb. 25.

And due to the Presidents Day holiday, if your usual trash and recycling pick-up day of Thursday was pushed back a day, the snowstorm will give you the distinction of having your stuff removed on Saturday. The Department of Public Works is asking residents to keep barrels off the streets and sidewalk on Friday until the snow is removed. And be sure the trash and recycling is ready to go at 7 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26.

Belmont Schools, Library Closed Friday Due To Winter Storm, Hazardous Roads

Photo: Hazardous weather closed schools Friday

While it’s not a snow day, Belmont public school students will be sleeping in Friday as school has been cancelled due to bad winter weather.

“Due to the storm and the projected flash freezing of roads, Belmont Public Schools are closed on Friday, February 4, 2022,” reported John Phelan, superintendent of schools on Thursday.

The Belmont Public Library will also be closed on Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory in effect from 4 a.m. on Feb. 4, until 7 p.m. for eastern Massachusetts. The forecast calls for rain changing to freezing rain and sleet between 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. impacting the morning commute as roads become hazardous as surfaces will be impacted by flash freeze as temperatures drop into the 20s by late Friday morning.

Breaking: Belmont Under Snow Emergency Parking Ban Starting 6 AM; Town Offices, Library, Beech Street Center Will Be Closed

Photo: Ban on on-street parking and in municipal and school parking lots starts at 6 a.m.

Belmont has issued a Snow Emergency Parking Ban effective at 6 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 7 at 6 a.m. on all roadways, as well as in municipal parking lots and Belmont Public School parking lots. The ban will be in effect until further notice. 

All vehicles parked in violation of the ban will be towed at the owner’s expense

In addition, town offices, the Belmont Public Library and the Beech Street Center will close on Friday.

Trustees Want Residents To Take A Tour Sunday Through Belmont’s ‘Failing’ Library [Video]

Photo: Deteriorating infrastructure at the Belmont Public Library

On Oct. 4, the Belmont Select Board and Board of Library Trustees agreed a solution is needed for the failing library building. The constant failures – big and small – in critical library building systems are urgent, according to the Trustees; floods, leaks, electrical issues, an antiquated fire alarm system, and unreliable heating, air conditioning and elevators have put the building in a dire situation.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Belmont residents can take one of two tours of the inner workings of the library and see the condition of the building.

INDOOR OPTION: Take a small group guided tour to see the failing parts of the library building.

OUTDOOR OPTION: The committee has recreated the tour experience outdoors, using posters, video, and knowledgeable guides to walk through.

The tours are led by members of the Board of Library Trustees, Library Building Committee, and Library staff.

For more information, visit www.NewLibraryFund.org