Hammond Memorial Ideas Flowing

BERLIN — With some pushing for a park and others for a garden, among other things, all town officials agree that Berlin should do something permanent to honor Ed Hammond.

“We definitely have to do something,” said Councilwoman Lisa Hall.

According to Hall, Hammond, who died earlier this month in a car accident, was one of the people most responsible for “revitalizing Berlin.”

Over the last few decades, Hammond has been involved in the restoration and improvement of a number of town landmarks, including the Odd Fellow building, the Ayers building, the Calvin B. Taylor House and the Atlantic Hotel. Hammond has also served on several town boards, acting as chair to both the Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission in his lifetime. He was also a founding trustee of the Berlin Heritage Foundation.

Before Hammond and others like him became involved, said Hall, “the whole downtown was falling down around itself.”

Mayor Gee Williams is also an advocate of a remembrance for Hammond.

“His contribution [to the town] is singularly unique,” he said.

While everything from naming a park to naming a building after Hammond has been discussed, Williams thinks the eventual memorial will be smaller, simpler and more personal.

“It should be tasteful and appropriate to his contribution to the community,” he said.

Olive Mawyer, executive director of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, was well acquainted with the work Hammond has done for the town. She explained that Hammond was “instrumental” in securing a grant for the chamber’s new visitor’s center, which opened over the summer and played host to Governor Martin O’Malley in August. Originally, Mawyer and the other chamber members planned on devoting a plaque to Hammond in honor of his contributions.

However, after learning more about Hammond’s avoidance of recognition and the efforts being made by the town council, the chamber decided to hold off on any action until all of Berlin is behind it.

“We have a couple of different options in the works,” Mawyer said, adding that the question on everyone’s mind is “what is the best thing we can do?”

Hall came out in favor of doing something less conventional than a plaque, such as dedicating a garden in town to Hammond. If not, she thought going the traditional route and naming a tree in his honor would also be acceptable.

By the end of the year, guessed Williams, something will be in place.