BERLIN – An extension of Berlin’s Victorian Christmas celebration to encompass an inaugural New Year’s Eve event was among one of several items brought up at Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting. Also included was a church’s request to extend park hours for a Christmas event and a warning for work-related temporary power trouble in Berlin.
The Mayor and Council discussed a request for the town’s first New Year’s Eve celebration.
Berlin Economic and Community Development Director Michael Day proposed a town New Year’s Eve party, complete with ball drop, disc jockey and carriage rides.
Barb Stack, one of the event’s organizers, joined Day in explaining the event to the assembly.
“Everyone looks forward to the Christmas parade, and we want to extend that,” Stack said.
Mayor Gee Williams conveyed enthusiasm for the idea.
“It’s really like extending Victorian Christmas by an entire week,” he said.
Williams added that it would be an alternative to those more interested in a family New Year’s Eve party instead of some of the traditionally wilder affairs.
“Folks with young children can come up for an appropriate celebration,” said Williams.
When asked what some of the highlights of the party would be, Day stressed the excitement of the ball drop at midnight.
“We have a big, 20-inch mirror ball,” he informed the council.
The ball drop celebration will be held on the corner of Main Street and Broad Street. Festivities will kick off at 10:30 p.m. with music furnished by DJ Paulo and dancing in the streets, hot chocolate, hot cider, cash bar and a ball drop at midnight, fashioned after New York City’s Times Square, but on a much smaller scale. Horse and carriage rides will be available for romantic tours of holiday decorations and lights starting at 8:30 p.m.
The following is a recap of other matters discussed at the meeting.
Museum Sprinkler Issue Discussed
Early in the session, a matter discussed at the last meeting was revisited. A proposed revision to town standards that would allow the Calvin B. Taylor Museum to use a residential sprinkler system in lieu of a commercial one was approved unanimously.
A change to town standards was required, as the museum was technically zoned as a commercial property and the previous standard required all such properties to use commercial systems. However, because the museum was a former residence and because it was determined that it would not require the amount of water provided by a commercial system, a residential sprinkler will be installed.
Instead of simply granting the museum an exception to the rule, the council decided to change the entire standard because it was seen as unnecessary, as not all commercial properties in Berlin are large enough to require the more powerful commercial sprinkler system.
Councilman Troy Purnell made sure to clarify that the change would allow similar businesses to avoid the lengthy process of needing council approval.
“They [other businesses] wouldn’t have to come in front of us every time?” he asked, receiving an affirmative from the rest of the council.
Utility Poles Will Be Relocated
Due to sidewalk construction work going on in Berlin, seven utility poles along Flower St will need to be temporarily transferred.
Tim Lawrence, director of the town’s Electric Department, said the transfer would cause temporary outages amongst some residents in the area.
Outages are projected to last between one and four hours depending on conditions. Lawrence assured the council that all those who might be affected would be notified in advance.
According to Lawrence, his department will generally wait until 9 or 10 in the morning before causing an outage, giving most families a chance to get ready and head off to work or school so the loss of power has as minimal an impact on their routines as possible.
Park Hour Extension Granted
During Chief Arnold Downing’s report to the council, the possibility of extending Henry Park’s hours of operation on Dec. 23 was broached.
Downing was passing on a request made to him by Sunrise Church, which wished to have a food giveaway for Christmas at the park. However, because they wanted to schedule the event during a convenient timeslot for people with day jobs, a special exception was required, as the decided time of 5 to 7 p.m. would exceed the park’s regular hours of operation. Downing explained that the church was planning on distributing approximately 100 prepared meals. The council approved the request unanimously.
Improved Signage Sought
Resident Jane Warden asked that better signage be placed on Hudson St. after motorists appeared to be confused. She attributed the increased traffic to people attempting to reach a nearby doctor’s office and not understanding Hudson St. didn’t offer a route to that location. The council told Warden it would look into the matter.