The Town of Berlin has its hands full … of ideas … again. This time they involve the possibility of two projects that, if the town can pull them off, would make Berlin’s continuing reinvention of itself even more remarkable.
If Berlin were to land a YMCA facility at Berlin Falls park, that would, in one stroke, become both the centerpiece and foundation of an enterprise that’s still in the process of being defined.
Buying that property for a park without knowing what might be done with it was a bold move, and town officials even cautioned residents that developing it into a recreational nucleus could take generations.
Planting a YMCA on its grounds, however, would make that happen much faster than anyone dared to imagine.
Meanwhile, the town is going to build a community center, and it could replace the aging and now unusable multipurpose building on Flower Street. Maybe the new facility goes on that property, and maybe it goes elsewhere, thus leaving the multipurpose building to continue its decline.
What happens depends on whether the Berlin Community Improvement Association cedes ownership of the Flower Street property to the town.
This should be an easy decision to make, just as the next step in the YCMA proposal should not require much heavy thinking or debate.
Members of the community association have only to ask themselves and their constituents what they will have if they don’t join the town in the pursuit of a new facility on the site. Their best bet would be to memorialize the old building with pictures and written remembrances inside a new facility and allow future generations to appreciate the history, but to make their own memories in a new venue.
As for the possibility of a YMCA at Berlin Falls, spending $20,000 to determine whether it’s feasible is nothing as compared to what might be gained.
Two “yes” votes are all Berlin needs to see the future.