Berlin Seeks Support In $20K Online Contest

BERLIN – Officials are hoping another good showing of online support for Berlin will win the town a $20,000 parks grant.

Berlin officials are asking fans of the municipality to nominate it in the “Meet Me at the Park” online contest being hosted by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

“Berlin is excited for this opportunity and confident that our citizens can vote our way to success — after all, that’s how we became America’s Coolest Small Town,” Mayor Gee Williams said.

Fans of Berlin are encouraged to visit to nominate Berlin. At the end of April, the city with the most nominations will receive $20,000 in grant funding to make improvements at a local park.

Mary Bohlen, the town’s administrative services director, said that as a member of NRPA Berlin receives the organization’s newsletter, where she read about the contest. Though 10 cities were automatically entered in the contest, when she realized any town could participate if its supporters nominated it she thought Berlin should give it a try.

“We have such good ‘clickers’ in this town we decided to give it a shot,” Bohlen said.

While the contest has been held before, for the first time this year everyone who nominates a city will be entered into a drawing for a tablet outfitted for the outdoors. Because the NRPA is collaborating with The Walt Disney Company—including Disney Citizenship, Disney ABC Television Group and ESPN—a public service announcement promoting the Meet Me in the Park camping will be shared with audiences of the various stations.

“Supporting local parks is essential to the health and vitality of communities everywhere,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA Director of Conservation, in a news release. “That’s why we are proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company to help fund critical park improvement projects in communities in need. We encourage everyone to join us in giving back to the places that shape so much of our lives by voting in this year’s Meet Me at the Park campaign.”

Though the contest is sure to receive a lot of nominations, Bohlen says town officials are optimistic that Berlin’s supporters will make a strong effort to help the municipality win the grant. She says officials don’t have a particular project in mind for the funding if the town does win it but that there are always improvements that can be made at local parks.

To vote, people can visit or can access the contest link through the town’s Facebook page or its website,

“Get out there and vote,” Bohlen 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.