By Greg Ellison
(July 15, 2021) Selecting projects that could vie for Program Open Space funding was discussed by the mayor and Berlin Town Council during its meeting on Monday.
Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said Parks Commission members considered a number of high-dollar projects for potential funding through Department of Natural Resources during its meeting last Tuesday.
County officials are seeking a “wish list” of projects for Program Open Space funding consideration. The deadline for submitting applications to the state program is Aug. 26.
“Typically, Worcester County asks for a development plan [but] they haven’t in a few years,” she said.
In addition to seeking money for lighting the basketball courts at Henry Park, the commission also discussed adding ping-pong tables at Burbage Park, and developing a skate park at a yet to be determined site.
Bohlen said both the ping pong and skate park proposals are being promoted by the nonprofit We Heart Berlin, with any grant support leveraged against the groups ongoing fundraising campaigns.
“What the Parks Commission thought would be the wisest course of action, rather than trying to jump right into building a skate park, would be to formulate a study to look at various locations in town and in the immediate area,” she said.
Mayor Zach Tyndall suggested granting council and staff an additional two weeks to weigh which options to pursue.
“We could still go ahead with Henry Park lighting,” he said. “If we were to go with a different project, we would not be saying no to lighting, we would just be saying maybe that’s not the best grant to submit.”
Councilmember Shaneka Nichols asked if Program Open Space funding could be used to purchase playground apparatus.
Bohlen confirmed that it could happen, but that state officials are less prone to finance efforts for multiple facilities.
Parks Commission Chair Carol Rose also championed the Henry Park basketball court lighting.
“I implore you to consider keeping basketball lighting at Henry Park,” she said. “I really would hate to see that go away for another year.”
The council voted unanimously to revisit the matter during its next meeting on July 26.