Online Contest For $20K Park Grant For Berlin Ends Monday

BERLIN – Days remain for a chance to nominate Berlin for a $20,000 park improvement grant.

For the second year, town officials are asking the community to nominate Berlin for the “Meet Me at the Park” online contest, a collaboration between the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company to help fund park improvement projects across the country.

The town that receives the most nominations will receive a $20,000 grant to improve a local park.

“At NRPA we believe everyone deserves a great park. That’s why we’re proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company on this campaign,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA director of conservation. “Everyone is encouraged to join us in giving back to the places that shape so much of our lives by participating in this year’s campaign. A nomination for your favorite park is all it takes.”

Mary Bohlen, Berlin’s administrative services director, said the town will be going against major metropolitan areas to vie for the grant funding.

“We’re up against some really stiff competition this year,” she said. “It makes our votes that much more important.”

This year, park projects in 15 metropolitan cities – Austin, Texas, Brevard County, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Durham, N.C., Fresno, Calif., Hartford, Conn., Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Fla., Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle – were automatically entered into the contest. However, voters can nominate a 16th town to receive a $20,000 grant.

“Berlin has proven to take to web-based contests well,” Bohlen said. “They want to see that Berlin is successful.”

While it is not yet known how the town would use the $20,000, Bohlen said the grant would could always fund postponed and future projects at any of Berlin’s parks.

“Everybody goes to the park at some point, but unfortunately parks don’t always have the funding other departments do,” she said. “We are very dependent on grants. We always have a number of projects on the backburner that we need grant funding to complete, so it’s possible we will have a project ready to go if we received the grant, or we could develop something new.”

Individuals can visit to nominate Berlin for the $20,000 grant until 11:59 p.m. on April 30. Everyone who nominates a town will be entered into a drawing for a GoPro Prize Pack.

Throughout the month of April, a public service announcement (PSA) supporting the Meet Me at the Park campaign will be shared with audiences across Disney, including ESPN, ABC Television Network, ABC-owned and affiliate stations, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, the ABC app and other digital platforms. Additionally, Radio Disney will support the campaign with an on-air radio spot.

Residents can show what parks mean to the community by nominating their town. Individuals are encouraged to take a selfie in their favorite park and use the hashtags #MeetMeAtThePark, #Parkies and #CelebrateEarth.

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

Bohlen encouraged everyone to nominate Berlin.

“The contest ends at midnight on Monday so every vote counts,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.