By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Jan. 7, 2021) The Berlin Parks Commission continues to hope its grant application for permanent restrooms at Stephen Decatur Park will be approved by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Community Parks and Playgrounds Program this year.
“Usually, we learn the results of those applications in the late spring/early summer,” said Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen. “We are looking forward to . . . being able to move ahead with that.”
The grant amount sought is $99,000, or 90 percent of the cost, for the 2022 fiscal year. The estimated total cost of the project is $110,000, with $60,00 for building construction, $10,000 for site work, $20,000 for utilities (sewer, water and electric), $10,000 for engineering design and permitting, $5,000 for engineering CA and inspection and $5,000 for contingency.
The town will cover the remaining $11,000 for the project.
In addition, the parks commission plans to present to the Town Council the draft of a program for park tributes.
“We are going to put before the mayor and council to approve a memorial and commemorative donation program, where people can commemorate their loved ones or events or any significant thing via donation to the park by purchasing things like benches, tables, trees [and] flowers,” Bohlen said. “We’re going to formalize that program. We do occasionally get requests like that.”
Donors will select from model styles the parks commission provides.
“They’ll be keeping with what we already have in the parks,” she said.
Last year, many events and projects for the three Berlin parks were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Public parks and playgrounds in town were closed on March 23, 2020.
“As soon as we went into the initial shutdown, we reached out to our playground equipment vendors and determined what we needed to do to make the playground equipment safe and implemented those steps,” Bohlen said. “Of course, as the pandemic continued, one of the things they said was . . . sunshine and fresh air was the best thing to get rid of the virus on solid surfaces.”
Then-Mayor Gee Williams reopened Stephen Decatur Park and Dr. William Henry Park to the public at noon on June 12, 2020, following the May 7, 2020 opening of Heron Park.
“We continued to work with Worcester County Recreation. They held some tennis programming in the late summer and fall,” Bohlen added about last year’s accomplishments. “We weren’t able to do the basketball programming this year for obvious reasons because of the close contact nature of that sport.”
The Jan. 5 parks commission meeting was canceled.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 2 at 5:30 p.m.