Association, Berlin Initiate Deal For Property Transfer

Association, Berlin Initiate Deal For Property Transfer
The Berlin Community Improvement Association has operated the Flower Street Multi-Purpose Building since 1971. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN –  The Berlin Community Improvement Association has agreed to move forward with transferring ownership of the Flower Street Multi-Purpose Building to the Town of Berlin.

Town officials met with D.J. Lockwood, chairman of the Berlin Community Improvement Association (BCIA), Tuesday. Lockwood informed them that the group wanted to proceed with developing a memorandum of understanding that would allow for transfer of the property — which houses the multi-purpose building and Head Start classrooms — to the town.

“It’s definitely going to be a good deal for the community,” Lockwood said.

Mayor Gee Williams agreed.

“I’m very pleased,” Williams said. “I think that’s what we all hoped for.”

The BCIA has owned the roughly three-acre property at 130 Flower St. since 1971. Though the property has been used by the BCIA in cooperation with various community groups in years past, activity there has decreased as the condition of the buildings on the site has declined.

Because the BCIA doesn’t have the funding for major improvements, the organization approached town officials about taking over the property.

According to Lockwood, in the weeks since discussions of a potential transfer began, he consulted with not only members of the BCIA but also community members.

“I spoke with educators, coaches, elders in the community,” he said. “Everyone was pretty much in favor.”

He said it was impossible to please every single person but that the vast majority of BCIA members also supported the proposal.

“We’re satisfied to move forward,” he said.

Now that both parties have agreed to the concept, Williams said the town would have its engineering firm conduct a survey of the Flower Street property.

“From that we’ll prepare a memorandum of understanding,” Williams said, adding that would lead to a contract.

He said that the property would continue to be available to Head Start.

“We’re looking forward to continuing that,” Williams said. “That’s certainly an asset to the community.”

Williams pointed out that as the Flower Street property transfer was underway, the town was also in the process of hiring a firm to conduct a town-wide survey regarding services and recreation options citizens wanted to see in the community. The information collected during the survey could help shape the future of the Flower Street property as well as Berlin Falls Park, as it’s not site specific.

“We want people in town to identify what services they feel need to be provided,” Williams said. “We’re not going to tell the public what they need. We’re waiting to hear from them.”

As for the BCIA’s role going forward, Lockwood said it would continue to work toward expanding opportunities for local children. He pointed out that the organization existed before it purchased the multi-purpose building and would not disband simply because it no longer owned the property.

“The BCIA is focused on the next generation,” Lockwood said. “I’d like to see us partner with the schools to do some educational functions, community activities and mentorship.”

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.