Proposed Berlin Park Renaming Public Hearing Set For Aug. 12

BERLIN – Citizens will have the chance to share their thoughts on the proposed renaming of Berlin Falls Park at a public hearing next month.

On Aug. 12, the town council will host a public hearing regarding the renaming of Berlin Falls Park to Heron Park. The name change was recommended by the Berlin Falls Park Advisory Committee on Monday after the group gathered input through a survey.

“It’s good to know that there’s at least some agreement,” Mayor Gee Williams said.

Amy Field and Jack Orris, chair and vice chair of the advisory committee, met with the town council Monday to provide an update on the committee’s activities and to share the name recommendation. While town leaders labeled the park with the “Berlin Falls” moniker upon its purchase so people would stop referring to it as the old Tyson plant, there has been talk of changing its name to something more appropriate for several years. Field said this week’s recommendation was the result of an online survey that was completed by 102 people.

“About a quarter of them liked Heron Park in one form or another,” Field said.

The council will host a public hearing, as required by the town’s naming policy, Aug. 12 before changing the park’s name.

Field told the council committee members had been busy during the year that had passed since their last presentation to elected officials. They’ve installed interpretive signs around the property and are moving forward with putting four benches around the park’s ponds.

“We also had a pretty lengthy debate about bringing a YMCA to the park,” she said. “We had a representative from the Eastern Shore YMCA come and tell us about their program, what the possibilities are.”

When committee members realized that two studies, the first of which would cost $20,000, would be involved in that process, they opted not to move forward.

“We weren’t ready to commit to that at this point,” she said.

Field said the committee had also pushed for the demolition of the various small buildings on the property and was exploring the possibility of adding an amphitheater to the park.

“That was something that we all agreed would be a good thing to look into,” she said. “We’ve identified several different examples of what might work on the property.”

Orris said that while committee members were seeking pricing on the amphitheater, they were just trying to get an idea of the cost and hadn’t committed to spending any money.

He added that the committee was pursuing a grant through the Maryland Department of Transportation in order to have the State Highway Administration install the brown “park” signs on the road near the facility.

“We’re also looking at a banner on the side of the large building to let people know where to turn,” he said.

Williams thanked committee members for their efforts.

“Compared to a year ago a lot of ideas are starting to formulate,” he said. “I think this shows progress.”

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.