BERLIN – Two new signs will soon welcome visitors to Berlin.
The town received approval from the Worcester County Commissioners to install two signs, one on Route 113 and another on Libertytown Road, welcoming drivers to Berlin. Laura Allen, town administrator, says it’s part of an effort to increase the town’s visibility in the wake of its recognition last year as America’s Coolest Small Town by Budget Travel.
“We feel it’s the right time,” she said.
The signs, which are identical, say “Welcome to Berlin” and feature a banner proclaiming it America’s Coolest Small Town. They also ask visitors to “Slow Down in Our Town.” A local company is making the signs, which cost $1,700 and were designed by Ivy Wells, the town’s economic development director.
One sign will be placed on a parcel on Libertytown Road owned by Pete Richardson while the other will be placed on property owned by John Derrickson on Route 113. Allen said when the concept of adding welcome signs came up, the town approached the private property owners because of the locations of their parcels. She said both were quick to agree.
“We put out feelers and there was a lot of receptivity,” she said.
She added that both locations saw a lot of traffic headed to downtown Berlin.
“They’re key gateways into our community,” she said.
Because both sites are within the county’s zoning jurisdiction and not the town’s, officials needed approval from the commissioners before they could install the signs. Such signs are not typically permitted, according to county officials, but may be allowed if the commissioners determine they’ll promote local tourism.
On Tuesday the commissioners agreed to the request unanimously and Allen says the signs will be installed as soon as the permit from the county is received.
Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, a former employee of Maryland’s State Highway Administration, said that for some reason Berlin had fewer signs per capita than “probably any town on the Eastern Shore.” He said the town had even had to get a special exception to put a Berlin sign on Route 50.
“It’s one of those strange quirks,” he said.
Nevertheless, he indicated he was thrilled to have private property owners partnering with the town to have the new signs installed.
“It’s interesting this is all being done by citizens of the community out of pride,” he said.
Williams said the town hoped to add another sign or two in the future at the town’s other main entrances and would go back to the county commissioners for approval then.