Berlin Town Council approves requests for road closures, grant requests
BERLIN—The mayor and town council unanimously approved two requests for road closures for special events and two requests to seek state grant funding for building and facility projects during an Aug. 12 meeting.
Economic and Development Director Michael Day presented a proposal for street closures behind Town Hall along Pitts Street, from Main Street to the alley on Pitts Street, to allow the Brown Box Theatre Group to set up for an evening performance from its Shakespeare at the Beach program on Sept. 13 from, 4–9 p.m. He also asked that the area surrounded by Main and Broad streets and the parking lot be cordoned off for the actual performance.
The theatrical troupe will be performing free classical and contemporary performances in Boston and the Eastern Shore this season. The September event will be a performance of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Day said.
Day also received approval for road closures yet to be determined for a group of motorcyclist who would like to assemble for two hours in Berlin during the morning hours of Sept. 13, from 9-11 a.m. Day and Police Chief Arnold Downing will coordinate their efforts to accommodate an estimated 75 to 100 bikers as they pass through the area on their way to Chincoteague.
Since all of the bikers must register for the event, Day said town officials will have a better understanding of the space needed once the event is booked. If there will be more than 120 bikers, they might move the assembly spot to nearby Stephen Decatur Park, which he later said looked likely to be the case.
Day was also the point person for presenting Resolution 2013-07 to the council. The resolution would allow town staff to request up to $150,000 in state grants from either the Department of Housing and Community Development or some other department or agency to help pay for two projects: a continuation of the façade program and a resubmission for funding for a new roof for the Berlin Visitor Center.
Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen requested authority to apply for a grant of $215,000 from the state Department of Natural Resources that would to go towards the cost of $236,500 to completely renovate the tennis courts in Stephen Decatur Park. The remaining balance would be paid for out of town expenses, cash and in-house work.
The renovation costs would include slightly higher materials cost since town officials are hoping to replace the existing surface with water pervious asphalt to keep the project environmentally friendly, she said.
Public Works Director Michael Gibbons told the council that the final road striping along Flower Street would be done by the end of the week and that the contractor had agreed to also stripe Buckingham Lane, from Main Street to Worcester Prep at no additional charge.
The intruding water might not be cooperating with the contractors working to provided needed sidewalks to the Flower Street corridor, however. Councilmember Dean Burrell said that a small amount of damage was spotted on the east end of the newly upgraded walkway. Gibbons said he would have the contractor examine the spot this week.
Water Resources Director Jane Kreiter reported the two newly hired employees for her department were in the field clearing ponds known to have standing water in the Westminster Drive and Upshur Lane. She said her department would be addressing stormwater management issues by “taking them one bite at a time.”
Electric Utility Director Timothy Lawrence reported that the generators at the William Street Electric Plant were completely in compliance with the final reciprocating internal combustion engine and had successfully met new air emissions standards mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.