Berlin Schedules Neighborhood Walks With Officials

BERLIN – Berlin residents will have the chance to meet their local officials and voice their concerns during a series of new events this fall.

Town council members will be hosting a number of neighborhood walks in September and October. They’re hoping citizens will take advantage of the informal sessions to share their thoughts on Berlin.

“I’m looking forward to hearing what folks have to say and where they’d like to see Berlin go in the future,” Councilmember Lisa Hall said.

Hall will host the first town walk, to begin at Buckingham Elementary School, on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. Though she first talked about inviting residents on a walk through her district–District 2–this spring, she thought fall would be the best time for the event, as the weather has begun to cool and busy summer schedules have quieted down. She says she knew the concept of district walks would be good for Berlin as soon as she heard it mentioned by officials from another Maryland town at a convention.

“I’m interested in having an informal walk and talk with my constituents to let them tell me what’s on their minds,” she said.

Hall believes by inviting people to walk with her she’s giving them a comfortable atmosphere in which to share their concerns. They’ll be able to speak with the town’s leaders one on one in their own neighborhoods.

“A lot of people don’t like to come to town hall and stand in front of a podium,” she said.

District 4 Councilman Dean Burrell will host the second town walk on Oct. 5 at 7:15 a.m. It will begin at Henry Park.

On Oct. 7, Councilman Troy Purnell will host a District 1 walk at 6 p.m. at the Berlin Fire Company.

The final walk, to be led by Councilman Elroy Brittingham, will be held Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the town’s multi-purpose building on Flower Street.

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, who announced the series of walks early this week, said that they would tie in well with the town’s designation as a HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) community.

“Berlin has always been innovative,” he said. “As a Healthy Eating Active Living community we’re looking for new ways to connect healthy activities with the way we do business.”

He said the neighborhood walks were being done as a follow up to the strategic planning sessions held in Berlin earlier this year.

“We heard the community interest in increased recreation facilities and activities,” he said. “These walks are one of the ways we’re responding to that concern.”

Town Administrator Laura Allen agreed.

“The walks are an opportunity for our community members to get a little exercise and share their thoughts about what’s going well and what we can do a bit better directly with their district council member and myself,” she said.

The walks will be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.