BERLIN – Roughly a year after first announcing plans to purchase the former Tyson property, Berlin leaders have officially entered the bond market.
On Monday, the council voted 4-0 to issue and sell bonds in the amount of $3 million to buy the more than 60-acre industrial property on Old Ocean City Boulevard. Settlement is expected to take place by the end of the month.
“We were very pleased to get four very competitive proposals,” Mayor Gee Williams said.
Town officials chose to work with the Bank of Ocean City after receiving proposals from it as well as Hebron Savings Bank, PNC and Shore Bank.
“The Bank of Ocean City gave us the best terms,” Town Administrator Laura Allen said.
She said the agreement with the Bank of Ocean City would allow the town to prepay before the 30-year term was up without penalties. It also provides for a 3.5-percent interest rate until 2030. At that time, Allen said the interest rate would be adjusted to the current Wall Street Journal rate plus 1 percent.
Council member Lisa Hall, who made the motion to approve the bond resolution, thanked the banks that submitted proposals.
“I’m really happy we’re able to do this with a local bank,” she said. “I think that’s important to this project.”
Allen said that with the approval of Monday’s resolution she expected the settlement to take place before the end of the month. As soon as that’s taken care of, she says town staff will begin tidying up the site, removing brush, filling potholes and the like. She said the town was also working with its insurance company to determine what measures as far as signage and fencing needed to be in place before the land could be opened to the public.
“Our hope is to have the park open for passive use by late spring,” she said.
While permanent uses for the expansive property have not yet been decided on, the town is working with a consulting firm to develop a long-range plan for the site. The company, EDSA, will help the town determine which of the 30-plus uses suggested by the public — including a swimming pool and skateboard park — are most appropriate for the property.
The bond sale approved this week will provide the town with the $2.5 million needed to actually purchase the property from Berlin Properties North as well as $500,000 to start work on the site.