Signs for the Aeronaut beer garden share Whittemore Park with the historical marker for local hero Sam Whittemore. / Bob Sprague photoSigns for the Aeronaut beer garden in July share Whittemore Park with the historical marker for local hero Sam Whittemore. / Bob Sprague photo

Good news, beer and music lovers: Arlington’s beer garden will remain open through September, as unanimously approved by the Select Board on Monday, Aug. 13.

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The events, held in the town center at Whittemore Park, on the lawn of the Cyrus Dallin Museum, will be open the following Saturdays: Aug. 18 and 25, and Sept. 1, 8, 22 and 29. On Town Day, Sept. 15, the beer garden will be on David Lamson Way, near Not Your Average Joe’s.

Further, in September, any time the beer garden is canceled on a Saturday because of inclement weather, it will be open the following day, on Sunday, said Ronn Friedlander, president of Aeronaut Brewing, the sponsor. This is welcome news because the events have been rained out the past three weeks. Any cancellation will be posted on the town’s media sites, said Ali Carter, town economic-development coordinator.

The beer garden has been an overwhelming success so far. “Approximately 1,500 guests have attended every event, and the majority came specifically for the beer garden, yet spent additional money in the center,” said Carter.

Selectman Kevin Greeley said, “I’m very impressed with this activity, and when I drive by on Sundays, I can’t tell that more than 1,000 people were there the previous day.”

150 more LimeBikes, as Spin leaves market

Still waiting to rent a LimeBike? Now’s your chance, because 150 more bikes will soon be provided, doubling the number available since late June to 300, as unanimously approved by the Select Board.

The number was increased because Spin, the second vendor to earlier offer dockless bike-sharing, declined to continue here.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine wrote Aug. 15: "Spin is leaving the dockless bike-share market to focus on electric bike share. It was not an Arlington-specific decision, but rather related to their broader corporate strategy."

“Three hundred bikes is the right number for Arlington, and LimeBike is ready, willing and able to step in and provide 150 more. Bikes don’t necessarily stay put; they start in Arlington and often end up in other communities,” said Town Counsel Doug Heim.

Each bike averages between one and one-half and two trips per day, said Dunn.

“There’s definitely a capacity in town for more bikes, especially in non-hot spots, such as the Heights,” said Selectman John Hurd.

Bikeway's 25th anniversary continues

Come celebrate the continuing 25th anniversary of the entire Minuteman bikeway, on Sept. 29, honoring the towns of Lexington and Bedford, as unanimously approved by the Select Board. Arlington’s part of the 25th anniversary was held last year, as the bikeway opened here in October 1992.

Music events will be provided in all three towns. “Arlington’s music entertainment will be located along the bike path at Magnolia Field, Linwood Circle/Spy Pond, Trader Joe’s and the beer garden,” said Christopher Tonkin, Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee chair.

Haikus, written in chalk, are expected to be visible on the bikeway from Alewife to the Bedford depot by then. “This art project, in collaboration with the bicycle advisory committee, is a way to connect all three towns,” said Cecily Miller, Arlington Public Art consultant.

Alewife T garage concerns aired

State Sen. Cindy Friedman and Rep. Sean Garballey attended Monday’s Select Board meeting to share their concerns and recent actions regarding the Alewife parking garage in Cambridge. Repairs are desperately needed after a piece of falling concrete crushed a parked car Aug. 8, as first reported locally at YourArlington.

The garage has reopened, but closes at 1 a.m. for inspections and repairs, available each morning at 5. The MBTA plans to close it again this weekend.

Friedman and Garballey both spoke at the T’s fiscal-management control board meeting held Aug. 13. “We asked exactly what they are doing with the $5.7 million allocated to repair Alewife, exactly what is their long-term plan, and to make parking free until the garage is fixed,” said Friedman.

“No action was taken on last November’s report that indicated imminent failure. We asked the general manager to show us the plan regarding what will happen with Alewife, and we’ll push to see that plan. They take each emergency as it comes, and it is important to keep pressure on them. Until the concrete fell, they didn’t pay much attention,” Friedman said.

Garballey added, “We articulated at the meeting how furious we are with their lack of accountability. It’s all about squeezing pennies, and it’s unconscionable.”

“This is a good time to remind them that we don’t get what we pay for, and we need to see if this has impacted the parking issues in East Arlington,” said Select Chair Dan Dunn. 

Restaurant news

The Select Board unanimously approved the following:

  • Luigi’s Italian Kitchen, 242 Mass. Ave. (formerly Sabatino’s Italian Kitchen, closed following an oil spill nearly two years ago): Common victualler license.
  • Commune Kitchen, 203 Broadway: Alcohol license extended to three outdoor tables, and entertainment (trivia or soft acoustic music) provided one night a week. 
  • Town Tavern, 193 Mass Ave: All-alcohol license revision (transfer). 

New affordable-housing committee

The Select Board unanimously approved an Affordable Housing Advisory Committee to guide how affordable-housing funds are allocated and dispersed.

“The advisory committee will have an action plan on how to dispense funds, and will assist the Select Board in allocating these funds,” said Erin Zwirko, assistant director of planning and development.

Arlington has two accounts containing $178,300 set aside for affordable housing that have not yet been allocated or dispersed, according to a memo written by Zwirko.

Jenny Raitt, director of planning and community development, added, “The creation of an advisory committee is just a first step. We’re proposing a number steps we’d like to take now, and other, more permanent ones in the long term, such as maybe accepting additional funds into a trust.”

“The advisory committee would initially determine how the $178,300 would be spent and, if successful, establish a municipal trust. The committee would not be in competition with CBBG [Community Development Block Grants]; it’s just a different vehicle,” said Chapdelaine. 

New, improved signs around town

Two signs, at Mass. Ave. and Park in the Heights, will be repurposed into historical vignette and community announcement boards, said Carter, and the Select Board unanimously approved the request.

The signs’ Park Avenue facing sides, “Welcome to Arlington Heights,” will remain the same. The Mass. Ave. facing sides, currently blank, will include historical and community information. Although not yet determined exactly what will go on the signs, “there’s still plenty of time for input,” said Carter.

The Select Board also approved the installation of lawn signs, Aug. 14 through 18, advertising the Arlington–Belmont Crew team, to encourage Arlington high school students, particularly novice squads, to join. 

Recent reappointments

The Select Board unanimously approved the following committee reappointments. All terms expire June 30, 2021.

  • Commission on Disabilities: Michael Rademacher
  • Council on Aging: Jill Greenlee
  • Human Resource Board: Sheila Keady Rawson
  • Park and Recreation Commission: Jennifer Rothenberg
  • Veterans’ Council: William Hayner, Patrick Quinn and Anmarie Russo

Special requests

The board unanimously approved the following special requests:

  • Handicap sign, 31 Magnolia St. Resident Donald Ronchetti Jr. suffers from pancreatitis.
  • One-day all alcohol license, Whittemore Robbins House, private event, Sept. 1.
  • One-day beer and wine license, Town Day beer garden, Sept. 15.
  • One-day all alcohol license, Smith Museum, Jason Russell House, Arlington Historical Society cocktail party fundraiser, Sept. 21.
  • One-day beer and wine license, Old Schwamb Mill, second annual Octoberfest, Oct. 13.
  • Street closing, Mill Lane between Lowell Street and Mill Brook bridge, Octoberfest, Oct. 13, noon to 4.

July 8, 2018: 1,000-plus attend beer-garden opening

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018.