Jul 28, 2014
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Belmont Could See New Library Grant In Two Years

Town third on state waiting list, $8 million in funding.

Belmont Could See New Library Grant In Two Years

The time line for a new Belmont library became better defined after the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners placed the Board of Library Trustees grant application third on its waiting list July 14. 

And the grant will be coming sooner than later, as in within the next year or two.

Because Belmont's grant request of nearly $8 million for the $17 million project is third on a waiting list of 15 grant requests will likely mean the Trustees could receive the funds in the next two years as the MBLC expects the to reach the first eight requests on the waiting list by 2015. 

"I would guess that we could be awarded the grant in a year or two," said Conners. 

"Usually a couple of communities that have received the grant award end up dropping out for whatever reasons, so that might make it closer to a year," she said.

But Conners said the those dates will depends on what amount the state grants the MBLC for next year.

"It does not have to be the same amount ($27.4 million) as this year," said Conners.

And while the library's grant was not selected in the first round of funding in which eight towns were awarded $27.4 million earlier this month, the expected the delay is just fine with leaders in bringing a new library to Belmont. 

"I think it is great that we made the wait list, that is actually what we were hoping," said Maureen Conners, the director of Belmont Public Library and who has been promoting constructing a 45,000 square foot two story building across Concord Avenue from the existing 29,000 square foot library that is four decades old. 

And the wait on the grant list will allow the Board of Trustees to ramp up its effort to garner public support for the library as well as working with the Belmont School Committee on using an existing Belmont High School playing field that the Trustees have selected for the new building that will include nearly 100 parking spaces. 

The Belmont School Committee abstained from making a recommendation during this year's Town Meeting in April when the Trustees successfully obtained approval on moving forward with the grant application. 

"We will have to get started on a couple of things immediately but the most important thing is replacing the field, that's first," said Conners.

In additionally, the trustees will "begin discussing fundraising plans shortly," said Conners. 

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