Main St. Improvements Eyed In Berlin

BERLIN – Berlin’s Maryland Main Street initiative plans to focus associated grant funding and town matching money on signs, pedestrian improvements, advertising and promotion, architectural standards, and the “Clean, Safe and Green” program.

A meeting will be held at Town Hall on Aug. 14 to hammer out more specific goals and projects based on merchant and citizen input, said Main Street coordinator Michael Day. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

The projects submitted with the application could change or be modified depending upon town input at that meeting.

On Monday night, the Berlin Mayor and Council approved the designation of $12,000 to match the state of Maryland grant of $12,000, giving the town $24,000 total to spend on Maryland Main Street projects. Currently, funding has been assigned to gateway and wayfinding signs ($6,000), sidewalk and crosswalk improvements ($5,000), promotional materials ($5,000), and $4,000 each for architectural design standards and the “Clean, Safe, and Green” initiative.

Wayfinding signs have been on the town agenda for several years.

“The merchants feel like we need to have some other signage for getting around downtown. It’s mainly for the shops off Main St.,” Day said.

The town might consider using sandwich board signs, which are somewhat controversial in Berlin, as wayfinding signs, Day said. The sidewalk signs have some historic background in Berlin and add to the charm of downtown, he said.

The “Clean, Safe and Green,” program ties into some of the other efforts and will prompt the town to work with partners to achieve some of that initiative’s goals, said Day.

“We’re looking at cloth shopping bags with a logo, recycling downtown, and some landscaping to fix up those little patches of dirt downtown,” Day said.

Berlin’s share of the funding will come from money assigned to the town by Worcester County.

“The county gave us more money than I budgeted,” Berlin Administrative Director Linda Bambary said.

The council voted unanimously to assign the money and send the formal grant application to the state.

Berlin was recently named to the Maryland Main Street program. The town was dropped from the state initiative after the rules were changed to require Main Street towns to employ a program manager. Although Berlin then hired a Main Street coordinator in conjunction with Pocomoke City, the program was not opened to new members until this spring.

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