This piece was jointly submitted to the Belmont Citizen Herald by Representative David Rogers and Will Brownsberger.
We are pleased to announce that the state’s positive financial position has allowed the legislature to make new contributions to Belmont’s capital improvement program — supporting forward movement on the library, the skating rink, public housing and economic development.
Roughly thirty years ago, Belmont’s citizen and professional leaders recognized that Belmont’s roads and water infrastructure and many of its public buildings had been allowed to deteriorate. Reports prepared earlier in the twentieth century had identified urgent major capital needs, for example in the fire stations and the town pool. But in an excess of thrift, these capital needs had been ignored.
In the 90s, the town increased its investment in roads and water infrastructure. Early in the 2000’s, the town’s leadership came together to inventory buildings that needed major maintenance and replacement.
At the time, the inventory was daunting. It seemed doubtful that the town would be able to afford the necessary projects and also support its daily operations.
Never knowing when or whether all the projects could be tackled, a series of task forces prioritized and reprioritized the projects to assure that the most urgent needs would be addressed before public funds and good will were exhausted.
Over the past 20 years, dedicated citizen volunteers and Belmont’s public-spirited voters have assembled funding for a series of major projects – including the senior center, the Wellington School, the town pool, the public works building, the police station and most significantly the new high school.
The library and the skating rink – as important as they both are to the town – were at the tail end of the priority list. Their most committed supporters demonstrated great patience as other projects moved forward ahead of them.
The state’s operating surplus recently allowed us to make some modest local investments over and above the state’s major ongoing support programs for municipalities and their schools.
We chose to dedicate $250,000 to the library project and $250,000 to the skating rink project. For the skating rink, these funds will allow more detailed design and feasibility work to define a future funding vote. For the library, it is our goal to make a contribution in support of the already designed project which may soon be before the voters for approval.
We especially appreciate the cadre of spectacularly well-qualified and committed volunteers who have steered the town successfully through the many projects it has completed over the past couple of decades. We are confident in their judgments about project value and also in their project management skills.
We hope that our modest contributions to the remaining pair of projects, the library and the skating rink, help build support for their ultimate approval by the voters.
Improvement of the town’s public housing stock has followed a separate path. Public housing has long been maintained through the state budget as opposed to the local budget. We have both strongly supported the statewide investment programs in public housing and other affordable housing. With great respect for the residents of public housing in Belmont, we were pleased to be able to allocate $500,000 for urgent improvements in Belmont’s public housing as part of the recent spending bill.
Finally, in support of Belmont’s local businesses and local business vibrancy, we allocated $100,000 to further public realm improvements identified by the town’s economic development committee.
We hope that this total investment of $1.1 million will effectively complement and support the town’s own investments in its important civic goals.
Will Brownsberger is the state senator serving Back Bay, Fenway, Brighton, Allston, Watertown and Belmont. Dave Rogers is the state representative serving Belmont, and parts of Arlington and Cambridge.
Encouraging news, thank you Will
Thank you Senator for relating this information and for the hard work and dedication of all involved. The many needed infrastructure projects and the need to open and patch the surface of roads has left them in bad shape unfortunately. Many sidewalks need to be angled to prevent water pooling (interestingly, most frequently where they meet walkways) I’ve seen many beautiful trees come down from town strips and hope there’s a plan to re-plant. And, I want say that to me, concrete sidewalks are beautiful, and are a sign of prosperity and growth. Whereas, asphalt sidewalks give a sense of want for resources. I can’t wait to see the new lib and rink
Your dedicated work is appreciated. It’s hard to know how to apportion limited resources. I would support more funds to the library which is highly used and a necessary asset in our community. If possible, I would favor increasing financial support of the library.
Thank you Will !
Permanent Building Committee
Underwood Pool – Library – Rink Committees
Thank you Senator Brownsberger and Representative Rogers!!
Yes, thank you indeed for this good news. I’m so glad the chances of a new library being built may have improved thanks to this. And our poor roads!… My father visits here from England and can’t believe how bad the roads are.
Thank you both for your efforts on this and other areas. Belmont’s capital budget has not kept pace with the needs of the town. Hopefully, the funds you have secured and other funding will allow us to move forward with needed projects.
Will, I continue to be thankful for your great work at the State House. I am hopeful that the funding you and Dave Rogers have secured will help assure the success of the library project!
Thank You for your work. I am so glad that the library is getting an allocation. I just hope that the residents get behind the funding to build a NEW one
Thanks for the hard work, Will and Dave. If the town recognized the serious issue that its public buildings had been allowed to deteriorate about 30 years ago, they would stop the neglect as cost was minimal back then. The high school building would still be in good shape because it was not even 20 years old at that time (so was the library). That would save a lot of taxpayers’ money if we only had to build an addition to the existing building to address the “overcrowding” issue like what Winchester did with less than 1/3 of the cost. In the past 15 years, our town officials kept claiming they have so little funding maintaining its buildings. Some long delayed repairs had tripled the cost. However, we have ample Free Cash leftover each year ($15.7M in 2021). In addition. the town has collected about $29M as of this year for the 2015 override that Belmont voters were promised the fund would be used to fix the roads, sidewalks, town-owned buildings, and schools. The question is, if the town cannot afford to properly maintain its existing buildings, how could town officials think we can afford to build a $295M school project plus additional permanent tax overrides in the future to support its operating cost?
Fantastic news! Thank you for moving Belmont forward!
Thank you very much for securing resources for these important town projects and needs. We are lucky to have you representing Belmont at the state level.
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