BERLIN – Merchants and town staff aired their concerns with Berlin’s array of special events during a work session this week.
On Tuesday, many of the town’s department heads met with a handful of merchants and chamber of commerce representatives to discuss the town’s annual events and any issues related to them.
“The focus was to talk about events and what’s working, what’s not,” said Laura Allen, Berlin’s town administrator.
She said the work session came as a result of issues that were brought up at merchant meetings, and, because of the varying attendance at those, weren’t necessarily resolved. The meeting, Allen said, was an “all hands on deck” approach to clearing up any identified problems and making needed changes.
Much of the discussion related to parking for special events.
“A lot of it centered around parking and getting information out on where to park,” Allen said.
She said the group agreed to begin working to advertise Stephen Decatur Park as a potential parking location and also to continue to offer visitors a shuttle from the parking lot at Berlin Intermediate School.
“There was some consensus around using a shuttle more frequently,” Allen said.
The roughly 30 people in attendance also made suggestions regarding the town’s advertising and marketing in relation to special events. It was agreed that additional focus needed to be placed on using social media as an advertising tool.
Helen Wiley of the Church Mouse said she thought Tuesday’s meeting was productive and would make a difference in improving the town’s many events.
“I was pleased with the turnout,” she said, “and the most comforting thing is that the town is so supportive of its merchants.”
Cate Nellans, president of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the meeting was a good step toward addressing problems identified during previous events.
“It was nice to have everyone who is involved in these things finally in one room to get to the bottom of issues that have been plaguing us for some time,” she said. “These events really do take a village and I think this was a really good, proactive meeting.”
Though some members of the town council voiced concerns about alcohol and littering following the New Year’s Eve ball drop last month, Allen said that topic did not come up at this week’s meeting.