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.
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.
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?
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.