Informal Petition Effort Seeks To Rename Park After Retired Mailman

Informal Petition Effort Seeks To Rename Park After Retired Mailman
Berlin Falls Park

BERLIN – A grassroots campaign started by a Berlin resident aims to have the town’s newest park renamed in honor of a well-known mailman.

Resident Bill Todd this week started a petition effort to have Berlin Falls Park renamed in honor of James Tingle. Tingle recently retired after more than three decades of delivering mail in Berlin.

“We just want to honor James,” Todd said. “He was always a smiling face and nice to everyone. That’s something that’s rare these days.”

Todd says the effort to rename the park came about gradually. After years of seeing Tingle on the streets of Berlin, delivering letters day after day, Todd and his girlfriend realized they hadn’t seen him in a while. Tingle had retired.

“We missed him,” Todd said.

Wishing that the community had done something to recognize Tingle’s years of service, Todd started brainstorming. He considered the fact much of the community had yet to embrace the moniker given to the town’s new park on Old Ocean City Boulevard.

“It just doesn’t fit,” he said.

When Todd, a radio host, brought up the idea of naming the park in Tingle’s honor on Ocean 98, he was overwhelmed with positive feedback.

“From there it took off on social media,” he said.

Todd created a petition for interested citizens to sign this week and left copies in close to two dozen downtown businesses. He plans to leave the petitions out for about two weeks and then, if he has a strong showing of support, approach town leaders.

“I want to have tangible evidence that there’s enough support in the community,” he said. “I need something to show them.”

While Todd admits he doesn’t know how the town would go about the change, he is looking forward to guidance from the town officials.

“I don’t think it should be that hard,” he said.

While Mayor Gee Williams considers Tingle one of his “dear friends” and understands the sentiment that motivated Todd’s petition, he was quick to point out the impracticality of the effort. He says Berlin is full of good people who give more than they receive.

“I believe it would be folly for the Town of Berlin to honor one or two of these individuals while not providing equal recognition for all others,” Williams said.

He said the town’s mayor and council were tasked with managing the community’s assets and developing opportunities for present and future citizens.

“Real opportunities, real public assets are built on much, much more than good intentions,” he said.

Williams believes the town’s leaders will need to take a pragmatic and deliberate approach in the transformation of Berlin Falls Park, a one-time industrial property, into a multi-faceted public space. He said that based on how similar projects had been developed, he expected naming opportunities to arise over time. He pointed out that those opportunities were “directly and unequivocally” tied to significant financial donations.

“So, if anyone has a six-figure financial gift ready to give the town for the purpose of a naming opportunity to honor James Tingle, or any number of other honorable current or past citizens of Berlin, then by all means contact me, because then and only then, will we have something to talk about,” Williams said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.