Exterior Changes Okayed For Berlin’s Newest Art Gallery

A model of what the renovation project at the former Mid Atlantic Pain Medicine building on Main Street in Berlin was presented to the town’s historic commission on Wednesday. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Renovations at the former Mid Atlantic Pain Medicine building — set to become an art gallery — are expected to begin this month.

Members of the town’s historic district commission gave Salisbury residents Foster and Lisa Schoch approval to begin much of the exterior work they have planned for the building at 6 S. Main St. on Wednesday. The commission will meet with the couple again next Wednesday to discuss lighting and landscaping at the property.

The Schochs admitted there was a lot of work ahead of them but said they were excited to improve the building.

“It certainly is a diamond in the rough,” Lisa Schoch said. “We’re proposing to bring it back to some of its glory days.”

She said she and her husband had long been art lovers and when they saw the location on Main Street become available they thought it would be the ideal place for a gallery.

“We’ve enjoyed art collecting for a long time,” Schoch said. “We thought it would be a dream come true to share that with the community.”

Carol Rose, chair of the commission, expressed concern over the steel door the Schochs proposed for the building.

“We certainly can’t have anything that looks like steel,” she said.

Foster Schoch assured her it would not look steel but would fit in with the historic atmosphere. Commission member Mary Moore said she wasn’t concerned about the door.

“It’s not like it’s right on the sidewalk,” she said.

Moore did, however, have concerns about the potted plants the Schochs proposed for the front of the property. While she liked the idea of planters, she suggested more substantial ones than the Schochs proposed.

“I’d love to see something more in keeping with the historic district,” she said.

She suggested the couple look at the planters in front of Nest. “They’re substantial and they catch my eye,” Moore said.

Commission member Joel Todd questioned the need for the building’s existing portico. Foster Schoch said that while he didn’t like it either, he was trying to get the gallery open quickly, in time for the summer season.

“I don’t think anyone here likes that portico,” he said. “The season’s coming up, if I do major renovations like that, I’m in July before we get to day one.”

Several commission members were critical of the light fixtures the couple proposed for the building. Rose, who said she remembered the building from when it was a filling station in her youth, said the lights didn’t fit the historic district.

“It’s the style,” she said. “It does not fit.”

Todd added that the proposed backlighting behind the building’s sign was a bit too modern as well. He suggested the Schochs drive around town at night to see what sort of lighting other businesses in the historic district used.

Commission members advised the couple to select new light fixtures and reconsider the planters they wanted to see in front of the building and to return to the commission with those items next week. The Schochs were given approval for all of the other exterior changes they approved.

Worcester Commits Funds To Proposed Arena Study

SNOW HILL – Worcester County officials agreed to have the Maryland Stadium Authority proceed with a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a 6,200-seat sports arena in the area. The Worcester County Commissioners voted 5-1 Tuesday to contribute $15,000 toward a Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) study. The study, to be performed by Crossroads Consulting Services, will look at the … Continue reading

Defense Seeks To Suppress Evidence In Solicitation Case

WEST OCEAN CITY — Legal posturing in the federal child sex solicitation case against a West Ocean City resident and business owner picked up steam this week with the defense attempting to suppress evidence collected from the defendant and statements he made in a post-arrest interview. In March, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland announced a federal grand … Continue reading

Berlin Outlines Five Goals In First Strategic Plan

BERLIN – A few months after beginning the process, Berlin officials voted unanimously to adopt the town’s first strategic plan. On Monday, town leaders approved the 2016-2018 Berlin Strategic Plan. The document, developed with the help of a consultant after several public input meetings, identifies the town’s top five priorities for the next three years. “Having never done anything like … Continue reading

Salisbury-Based Protest Carried Out In Peace

SALISBURY — Despite a few jittery moments when Salisbury officials on Wednesday afternoon were not certain what a planned protest later that evening would bring, the so-called “Die In” in the downtown area on Wednesday night was peaceful and calm and could lead to some inroads to some of the same problems plaguing Baltimore this week. Early Wednesday morning, Salisbury … Continue reading

National Park Visitors Spent $90M Locally, Report Finds; Impact Increased 7% From 2013

BERLIN – Visitors to Assateague Island National Seashore accounted for more than $90 million in local spending during 2014. According to a report released last week by the National Park Service (NPS), money spent on groceries, hotels and the like in 2014 amounted to $90 million in visitor spending associated with Assateague Island National Seashore. That was an increase over … Continue reading

City Council Amends Taxi Ordinance To Cover Uber

OCEAN CITY – The town is looking to recently passed state regulations to ease concerns when it comes to Uber and similar companies in Ocean City. For several months, amendments to the town’s ordinance regarding taxicab regulations have been before the Police Commission prior to being forwarded to the Mayor and City Council for final approval. Additionally, discussions have been … Continue reading

Prayer Luncheon Planned To Help Berlin Fire Victims

BERLIN – A prayer luncheon to benefit the three families affected by a fire on Bay Street early this month has been set for May 2. La’Reka Marshall, a Berlin native and founder of Soulful Gospel Events, will host a luncheon at Berlin Intermediate School next Saturday to benefit the families displaced by an April 3 townhouse fire. Attendees are … Continue reading

North-End Commissioners Talk Budget With Residents

BERLIN – Concerns over climbing property tax rates and education funding highlighted a budget meeting hosted by a pair of Worcester County Commissioners this week. Dozens of area residents attended Tuesday’s first-of-its-kind town hall meeting focused on the county budget hosted by Worcester County Commissioners Chip Bertino and Jim Bunting at the Ocean Pines library. Commissioners Diana Purnell and Ted … Continue reading

New Ownership Clarifies Lazy Lizard’s New Direction; Veteran Team Aims To Redesign Downtown Site

OCEAN CITY — With a clearer vision and a firmer concept, the new ownership and management team at de Lazy Lizard is rapidly preparing for the upcoming summer season at the iconic spot on the bay at First Street. Last week, the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners agreed to lift the liquor license suspension placed on de Lazy Lizard’s … Continue reading