Berlin Wrapping Up New Policy On Public Place Naming

BERLIN – A committee is working on final revisions to a new policy to address the naming of public property in Berlin.

Town Administrator Laura Allen says committee members are making final changes to a new policy they’ve been developing to address how public property is named in Berlin.  She says the policy will be presented to the Berlin Town Council May 8.

“It provides a nice clear process for folks who want the town to name a piece of property,” Allen said. “It identifies what is subject to the policy and defines what is and isn’t subject to being named. It includes opportunities for the public to provide input.”

The town formed the eight-member Berlin Naming Parks and Public Spaces committee in January after a grassroots petition effort sought to rename Berlin Falls Park. Even after officials objected to the park being renamed in honor of a local mailman, Bill Todd, the resident behind the petition, advocated for public input in the naming process. He argued that naming opportunities shouldn’t be tied exclusively to financial gifts.

In response to concerns voiced by Todd and other members of the community, the town formed the committee to develop a policy to address future naming opportunities.

Allen said the committee met several times and members identified key components they thought were needed in Berlin’s policy. They looked at sample policies from other municipalities and identified parts of each they liked. Allen put together a draft policy incorporating the committee’s input and is currently circulating it among members for final revisions.

Todd, who is on the committee, says that while he wasn’t able to attend the last two meetings he’s monitoring the draft policy via email.

“There are still some things to get worked out,” he said.

Nevertheless he pleased that the policy as proposed would ensure that the public has the opportunity to provide feedback as public properties are named.

“It’s going to put a lot of the input into the community’s hands,” he said.

Todd said he was thrilled with the fact that his petition drive worked out the way it did. He says town officials now know how interested the community is.

“They’re aware that people aren’t going to be going with whatever’s thrown at them,” he said.

Allen said the draft policy would be available to the public May 5 as it would be included in the council packet published in advance of the May 8 meeting.

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.