Belmont Savings Matching Grant Could Help Save Underwood Pool

There just might be outdoor swimming next summer in Belmont after all.

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, the community grant-making wing of Belmont Savings Bank, announced Thursday, Sept. 11 that it will match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $200,000 in private donations raised towards building a new Underwood Pool.

The potential $400,000 will allow the Underwood Building Committee to accept the current low bid of $4.55 million from Methuen-based New England Builders and Contractors to erect the new pool complex on the site of the current historic 102-year-old facility at Concord Avenue and Cottage Street.

“The bank understands how much Belmont residents care about the Underwood Pool, and once again they are partnering with us to make a positive difference in the community,” said Ellen Schreiber, secretary of the Underwood Pool Building Committee.

The future of the new two-pool facility had been in question since late August when the initial low bidder Seaver Construction of Woburn, abruptly withdrew its $3.84 million offer on the project that the Building Committee has budgeted at $4.16 million.

As a result of the Foundation’s challenge, the Building Committee is launching a fundraising campaign to raise $200,000 “from large donors as well as from the grassroots to complete the funding for the New Underwood Pool project,” said Schreiber, who has set up a donation website, www.underwoodpool.com

All donations are tax-deductible – the committee will be working with Belmont’s Partners in Play and the Winn Brook PTO – and is restricted for the pool project.

In a separate announcement, New England Builders and Contractors has agreed to extend until Oct. 31 signing a contract with the committee to build a new facility. The current deadline to award the work is Sept. 26. The firm also said it would build through the winter and attempt to have the structure open for the 2015 recreation season beginning the final week in June.

As a result, “[w]e need to raise $388,000 in donations as a public-private partnership … by October 31,” said Schreiber.

“The timeline is aggressive, but the grant from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation really makes it possible,” she said.

“As a donor, it is very exciting to know that every dollar you give is being doubled. And this is a true matching grant – for every dollar we raise, the foundation will give us a dollar, up to $200,000. So we encourage people to help complete the funding for the Underwood Pool,” said Schreiber, who is well-known for help leading a massive community effort to build the new Joey’s Park adjacent to Winn Brook Elementary on Cross Street that opened in October of last year.

Those interested in making a large donation can contact Ellen Schreiber at ellensch@verizon.net or 617-290-6216. Make donations of any size by check or online at www.UnderwoodPool.com.

Belmont Savings Serves Homer House a Cupola of Loving Care

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation recently provided a $2,000 grant to the Belmont Woman’s Club to help restore the cupola on the roof of the historic William Flagg Homer House.

The small dome’s damaged state was first noted in a building survey conducted in 2013, with falling structural elements that could have threatened the safety of visitors to the house. The Foundation provided the grant, which will cover half the cost for the restoration, to prevent further damage and keep the house open to the public.

“The Belmont Savings Foundation is thrilled to be offering our support of this critical restorative project,” said Bob Mahoney, President and CEO of Belmont Savings Bank and an officer on the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation.

“The Homer House is a cornerstone piece of our town’s rich history, which is why we felt compelled to ensure its public programming was being maintained during this period.”

The Belmont Woman’s Club is the steward of the 1853 Homer House, a site associated with 19th-century artist Winslow Homer. Tours of the Homer House continues on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August. On view will be the new Homer House exhibit, “Winslow Homer’s Civil War.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 8.43.34 AMWrapping of the deteriorated roof was an emergency preservation measure taken after harsh conditions this winter rendered the house unsafe for visitors. Investigation and securing of the roof was overseen by Wolf Architects consulting architect Gary Wolf, and Belmont resident and consulting structural engineer, Arthur MacLeod.  John Veale of Vealco Restoration led his crew in the successful repairs to the Homer House.

Since 2012, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation has given more than $225,000 to non-profits and educational institutions in Belmont, Watertown, Waltham, Newton and Cambridge. The mission of the Foundation is to provide financial support to non-profit groups, institutions, schools or other organizations operating in the communities in which Belmont Savings Bank operates.

Belmont Savings Bank is a $1.2 billion, full-service Massachusetts savings bank dedicated to quality, convenience, and personalized service.