The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Belmont’s community fosters changes

Milena Hanson
Last November, City Council elections were held using the new district election system. “I love that Belmont is changing the face of leadership in the Bay Area to really reflect everyone in our community,” said Council member Gina Latimerlo. “We now have four women and three people of color on our Council. We have a diversity of professional experience, as well. So, we’ve got a lot of different lenses looking at our common issues.”

Forested, rolling hills. Beautiful views of San Francisco Bay. Quiet residential areas and a close-knit, small-town community.

These all constitute the town of Belmont, California.

Home to around 26,000 people according to the United States Census Bureau, Belmont’s cozy atmosphere supplies its residents with support and encourages community engagement while focusing on the progress of the city.

“I think that’s really helpful to get community input. We always have people who want to volunteer, and there are a bunch of different ways people can get involved,” Mates said. “We really encourage that because we are a small city and we want people to be as engaged as possible.”

From joining the Parks and Recreation Commission to participating in town events such as the beloved Celebrate the Music Festival, there are countless possibilities for community engagement. 

Belmont also has many opportunities for youth and teens to interact with the community. Many high school students in Belmont engage with the city through groups such as the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), a teen forum focused on helping teens get involved in the community.

Asha Mehta, a Carlmont student and a member of YAC, enjoys having an active voice in the community of Belmont while working with other teens and peers.

“It’s a really good way to make new connections and gain new experiences like public speaking, creative thinking, and working in a team,” Mehta said.

The members of YAC, which functions as a division of the Parks and Recreation department, work together to plan different projects around the town, explained Mehta. The teens work together to find ways to positively impact the community.

“For example, we have a subcommittee that is focused on substance abuse finding ways to help teens learn more about substance abuse and more about mental health as it is a very prevalent issue in our community,” Mehta said.

The Parks and Recreation division of Belmont is one of the most common ways people get involved in the community, according to Mayor Julia Mates. (Milena Hanson)

From planning talks to organizing community events to help spruce up Belmont parks, YAC gives teens lots of opportunities to make a change in their community.  

While there is lots of space for direct and hands-on community involvement through committees such as YAC, there is also a lot of behind-the-scenes, larger-scale planning taking place in Belmont.

Ensuring the safety and future of Belmont and the residents is a huge priority for Belmont City Council, according to Council member Gina Latimerlo.

For example, after the flooding that took place following the winter storms, the City Council is determined to improve the sewage and draining situation, especially surrounding the creek in Twin Pines Park, which serves as Belmont’s main drainage system.

“Coming up, and already funded, will be two big, underground rainwater detention basins to hold the excess water from large storms there in Twin Pines Park,” Latimerlo said. “This will help make it so that the eastern, and lowest, part of Belmont doesn’t get hugely flooded anymore.”

Latimerlo explained that a Storm Drain Master Plan is being created, as well as a separate sewage plan that will be presented to the City Council at the end of the year.

At the same time, there are many other projects in the works, including a complete reconstruction of the Barrett Community Center. 

After a series of community assessments and planning, the building program hopes to include a new gymnasium, a fitness and wellness center, and even an outdoor pool according to the Belmont Community Center conceptual design report.

“The Barrett Community Center is well used, but it’s a very dilapidated building,” Mates said. “That’s something we’re really hoping to move the needle on.”

As of 2019, the project is expected to cost upwards of $57 million according to the conceptual design report, and will take at least several years to complete.

On top of all this, Belmont is also planning new developments in the Harbor Industrial area.

“We’re gonna see a lot of new development. In the next few years, that area will look very different as biotech and life sciences come to Belmont. We have millions of square feet of development,” Mates said.

From building a new community center to developing new apartment units and industrial facilities, change is coming to Belmont in big ways.

But the city is taking these changes in stride, and working to better the community for the people of Belmont.

“There’s not a single part of Belmont we don’t all touch,” Mates said.

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About the Contributor
Milena Hanson, Staff Writer
Milena Hanson is a sophomore at Carlmont High School and this is her first year in Carlmont Journalism. She enjoys covering local news and interacting with the community. Outside of her journalistic duties, she enjoys playing competitive soccer, partaking in school theatre, spending time with friends, and cuddling with her dog.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Belmont’s community fosters changes