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The Romney Effect: How Belmont Might Change with a President Romney

Our latest installment in The Romney Effect series looks at how security, tourism, commercial development in Belmont could change.

It's just after noon on Jan. 20, 2013.

Mitt Romney kisses his wife, Ann, and shakes the hand of Chief Justice John Roberts as tens of thousands of citizens stretch out in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

And in Belmont, what was once known as "normal" when the Romneys were simply longtime residents of the "Town of Homes" has come to an end.

On that winter day, if it comes, Belmont would joined Crawford, Texas; Hope, Arkansas; Chappaqua, New York, the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, and a number of other communities that American presidents have called home.

Belmont might add a new tag line to the "Welcome to Belmont" – something along the lines of "Home of Mitt!" What is unknown is how being the Romneys' hometown for the past four decades will affect Belmont's future. 

There are several areas in which change might be most noted, and Belmont Patch is asking you to tell us just how different life might be in the new president's hometown.

Security

If you have been in town over the summer, then you probably have encountered the blocked-off streets, the motorcade flying by, the Blackhawk helicopters buzzing Belmont Center and the huge SUVs with very serious men and woman flooding out of them and into CVS. The presence of security details might become even more noticeable in a Romney presidency.

Would a more-intense security presence affect you — and if so, how?

Self esteem

Right now, the best Belmont can do for an all-purpose motto is "Town of Homes." While that is fine, there is no doubt that being the hometown of the most powerful man in the free world does hold some cachet. Belmont would be one of only about 50 out of 18,400 communities to hold the title: Home of the President. (Although San Clemente, California doesn't mention its hometown president, Richard Nixon, on its website.)

Would being the president's hometown give residents the opportunity to proudly say, "Yes, I AM from Belmont"?

Commercial property

While there is little evidence that residential property benefits from being associated with being in the hometown of a president, research by Belmont real estate broker Al Gutterman suggests that communities do have an uptick in commercial development. Whether it is name recognition that brings retail stores into town or being associated with a president that keeps commercial operations in town, this could be one benefit that pays off for the town in the long run.

Could Belmont find itself benefiting from being President Romney's hometown  to help expand the town's commercial tax base?

Tourism

Not since Belmont Springs brought city folks to Waverley Square by rail has there been anything close to a tourist attraction in town (although there were reports of buses touring around Belmont Hill where Masako Owada – now Japanese Crown Princess Hironomiya – once lived.) And the Belmont Temple is used more as a landmark then an attraction. But why not a new attraction to add to the William Flagg Homer House and the sheep on Week's Meadow?

Should Belmont exploit Republicans across the country who are eager to see where the Romneys would live when they're not in Washington?

So, Belmont, give us your thoughts of your hometown during a Romney presidency.

chip cohen August 18, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Lots of folks in Belmont would be protective of Mitt. I am sure that any security presence can be helped in a friendly way. Also, Mitt is just as likely to be in NH or Utah than in Belmont. I doubt a condo in Belmont will be like the LBJ ranch of yore.
Anne Johnson Mahon August 19, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Interesting how many of the things he stood for as Governor that made Belmont proud of him (gun control, environment, Romneycare) are now things he's vehemently against. I don't think Belmont recognizes Romney anymore and I don't imagine he's got much chance of us carrying him in this election. I'd also be very curious to see if Romney has ever given back to Belmont. As far as I can tell, the answer is no. Franklin, have they ever donated a penny to any of Belmont's needs? We have playgrounds closed down, a pool that is in grave condition, a high-school on the verge of losing accredidation due to underfunding and archaic science equipment, a library that can't host handicap folks and has a failing air conditioning system, pitiful roads, PTA/Os covering the cost of text books, etc. Lots of opportunity for him to slap the family name on something and certainly the wherewithall to contribute, but alas, nothing gets noticed when you have never been a part of the community. I realize elections cost a bunch (although with those tax loopholes like $75,000 for his horse and Cayman Island bank accounts ....) and his kids never stepping foot in our public schools, you think he'd have tried to do something here to impress us in town besides get his hair styled at Leon's. He did bring us the Mormon Temple. So while Romney getting elected may change Belmont, Romney himself will have done nothing for Belmont that raises a cheer or sense of gratitude on this end.
bill dillon August 23, 2012 at 02:33 PM
In my humble opinion the appointment of Liz Allison to the Planning Board will have a much greater impact on commercial property development . . . . positive or negative . . . .. . than a Romney victory in November. But to hedge my bet, I have instructed my kids to file a special permit with the Planning Board so they can open two lemonade stands next summer: one on Marsh Street at the former Romney home and the other at the entrance to the new homestead.
Daniel Vernick August 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Belmont's just one of many places Romney lives--he's probably at his 10 million dollar mansion in NH or using his car elevator on the beach in San Diego just as much (or more) than visiting his house in Belmont. Therefore we shouldn't solely assume the embarrassing title of "Romney's Home Town"

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