Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Toy Town plans unchanged, despite rumors to contrary

(Aug. 11, 2016) Rumors to the contrary, Toy Town owner Richard Seaton said there have been no adjustments made to his plans to close the shop in Berlin on April 1 and open in Snow Hill as soon as possible after that.
Reports of delays of up to April 2018, have circulated.
“It’s always been the plan,” Seaton said.
Seaton was at the former Outten Theater this past weekend for the First Friday and Blessing of the Combines events, where he had set up several large displays featuring toy tractors and farm equipment.
Seaton said he’d never attended the blessing before, and was “blown away” by the number of people in attendance. Seaton said he’d estimate the crowd at 3,000. In the 2010 census, Snow Hill’s population was counted at 2,103 and is currently estimated to be around 2,086 though local figures place the population around 1,900.
The Seatons were the first takers on a program offered beginning late last year that allowed entrepreneurs to make agreed-upon improvements to some of the town’s vacant properties and, when certain conditions are met, the town would cede the property to the tenants.
The town ratified the conditions for the Seatons in a memorandum of understanding at last month’s meeting of mayor and Town Council.  
First, according to the MOU, the Seatons will need to renovate the electric, plumbing, hardwood flooring, cement, carpet, front door, carriage door, stairway, heating, wallboards, trim and moldings of the former Outten Theater.  
Then they will need to repair the entire façade according to Historic District guidelines, and these renovations need to be verified by a code enforcement officer designated by the town.
In lieu of taxes, the Seatons agree to pay a flat $100 per month rental fee during the MOU period. Mayor Charlie Dorman said the assessed tax bill for that structure is about $800 per year.
The Seatons also agreed to operate the Toy Town business, pay all utilities and maintenance costs as well as rehabilitate the existing upstairs portion for five years.
On the town’s side, the mayor and council agreed to repair the roof, cut the concrete for the plumbing work and provide town water and sewer as well as electric access to the back of the building, according to the MOU.
The building, vacant for nearly 30 years according to several sources within the town, could be subdivided into a number of storefronts, but the Seatons said they would use it all to expand their shop.
“I’ve got more than enough stuff in storage to fill that space,” Richard Seaton said when the agreement was reached. “It’s a difference, but it’s not that much.”