Berlin Discusses Next Stormwater Improvement Projects

BERLIN – Grants could help the town accomplish its next round of stormwater improvements.

At a meeting last week, town officials reviewed stormwater improvements planned for the area of Nelson, Franklin and Pine streets as well as the area of West Street and Abbey Lane. The town aims to apply for funding for the projects from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“I’d hate to see us lose momentum when we’ve gotten so far,” Mayor Gee Williams said. “We’re only about halfway to the goal.”

Darl Kolar of EA Engineering, Science and Technology, the town’s stormwater consultant, outlined the two projects on the town’s radar at last week’s council meeting. He said the first project, which has already been designed, is stormwater piping replacement in the area of Nelson, Franklin and Pine streets. The project would connect the Graham Avenue submerged gravel wetland to the phase one improvements at Cedar, Maple and Pines streets.

Kolar said the project was estimated at $850,000 and that the town had submitted to FEMA a notice of intent for $500,000 in funding. If FEMA approves the notice of intent, the town will submit an application for the funding later this year.

The other projects involve increasing the size of the stormwater piping at the intersection of West Street and Abbey Lane. While the work is expected to cost about $1.8 million, Kolar stressed that the project itself had not yet been designed.

“The estimate is based on a very conceptual thought process,” Kolar said.

Williams acknowledged the West Street project was a priority because that area experienced the most actual flooding.

“This is the big one,” he said.

He asked if the town would apply for FEMA grants for both planned projects. Kolar said the town would make a decision to apply for just one or both, if it determined it could handle the 25% financial match for both.

“I like the idea of applying to remedy both situations,” Williams said. “We’re not in competition with ourselves we’re trying to solve two problems in the same town.”

Even if the town didn’t get the grants, Kolar said it should keep chipping away at the portions of the projects it could afford on its own.

“Then it just continues to make our grant applications stronger as we bring costs down,” he said.

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.