BERLIN – Town officials agreed to spend $124,000 to demolish several small buildings at Berlin Falls Park.
The town council voted 4-1, with Councilman Troy Purnell opposed, to accept a proposal from Coastal Site Works LLC for the demolition of seven small buildings at the park. Mayor Gee Williams said eliminating the buildings would help in the town’s efforts to get grant funding in the future.
“By doing this we’ll be much higher on the list, more likely to get a good grant when it’s time to do demolition work on the major building,” he said.
Town Administrator Laura Allen told the council that several companies had attended a pre-bid meeting but only two submitted proposals for the demolition work. Coastal Site Works LLC of Ocean City submitted a bid for $124,000 while Lindstrom Excavating Inc. submitted a bid for $496,000. She recommended awarding the contract to Coastal Site Works.
Allen added that funding was available, as the town had $259,000 remaining in its Berlin Falls Park account.
Williams said that by demolishing the buildings the town would be in a better position to receive grant funding, as it would have shown some of its own investment in the property.
“There’s no such thing as free money,” he said.
The council approved a motion by Councilman Elroy Brittingham to award the contract to Coastal Site Works.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, local merchant Jordan Pippin asked if there was any way the town could make use of the buildings, rather than spend money to tear them down.
“It’s a lot of money,” Pippin said.
Planning Director Dave Engelhart said the buildings would need major work if they were to be used. He said there was possibly one that could be useful.
“They don’t have water,” he said. “They don’t have electric.”
He said making those improvements would be a large expense, which was why the town hadn’t pursued the possibility of turning any of them into public restroom facilities.
Purnell, when contacted after the meeting, said the Berlin Falls Park Advisory Committee — which he is a member of — had been divided about whether the town should pursue demolition of the buildings.
“I didn’t think it was the right time,” Purnell said. “I’ve always said those buildings are in good shape.”