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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.