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May 17

Belmont Arts Center Ponders on a Name Change

BY: Freedom Whiting

The Belmont Arts and Culture Center caused quite a stir last week when it announced that it would be moving from Belmont-DeVilliers to another locale on North Guillemard street. However, some would like to know one thing: Is the children’s program going to retain its’ name?

The announcement to move the center has received strong community support. Yet, a few individuals have decried that the program retain its original name even if it was no longer in the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood.

City Councilman John Jerralds was the lone ‘no’ in a 7-1 decision for the lease agreement. Jerralds said that his main concern was the city’s possible neglect of its’ commitment to revitalize the neighborhood. He also stated he believes the center should change its name if it moves from Belmont street. During the next council meeting on the lease agreement for the new building last Thursday, the council delivered a unanimous decision.

Recently, there has been talk of an upcoming meeting with the Belmont-DeVilliers Neighborhood Association to discuss the possibility of a name change. However, some residents believe that keeping the Belmont name is not a major concern as long as the mission of the organization stays intact.

President of the Belmont Youth Band, Vivian Lamont, says the new location provides more space for her students.

“I’m happy about it because I need more space,” Lamont said.  “The Belmont [Building] isn’t fixed up. It rains in there … and it’s dangerous for the kids.”

Lamont says that with over 70 children in the program, the old location was a liability. Still, Lamont says she and the owner of the Belmont Building, Rev. John H. Powell of Truth For Youth, have parted on good terms.

Although renaming the Belmont center is up for discussion, a name that will remain the same is the Belmont Youth Band.

“The Belmont Youth Band’s [name] will not change,” Lamont said.

Though the Belmont Arts and Culture Center is in transition to move, Rev. Powell says the Belmont Building will not be empty and will be utilized for art purposes.

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