Reasons To Sell Park Parcels
(The following letter was addressed to Berlin Mayor and Council members with a copy forwarded for publication.)
I would like to tell you why I feel selling Parcels 410 and 57 is the best course for the town to pursue.
- Both of these parcels will require much more money to accomplish the goals most people have in mind for them.
- The area is more commercial or industrial than recreational or park-like.
- It is not a favorable place for young children to be without supervision. At this time, I feel it should be posted with ‘enter at your own risk’. There is much industrial debris scattered throughout the park.
- There are no sidewalks leading to the park except from the West side of Berlin. There are no sidewalks to walk from the East side of town.
- It is not close to the East side of town, so of little benefit to that part of town or to unifying the town.
- The fact that you would require an easement to access the park means it is not that accessible and has only one road access off of Old Ocean City Blvd., which is already too busy.
- The deserted nature of the back parcels has no other access by emergency services. It is backed by Rt. 50 and Rt. 113. It would be quite easy for someone to park and grab someone in the rear part and no one would know. There is spotty cell phone reception toward the back of the park.
- We have always referred to Heron Park as the scary park.
- How is activity at the proposed skate park going to be monitored? Both Ocean Pines and Ocean City have their skate parks accessible to law enforcement and EMS if they are needed.
- There is talk now of the need for a traffic light at the corner by Cheers, what will happen with the addition of a skate park and whatever else you may have in mind for this property.
- The proximity to Burley Oak and Cheers and alcoholic beverages is also problematic as far as young people are concerned.
- The only thing I see the park is good for is to walk your dogs and observe the birds, ducks and geese. I have seen foxes and snapping turtles there too.
- The money the town would get for this property would reduce the debt service and free up funds that could be used for other purposes in the town.
Personally, I think the whole park should be sold, but I do understand the idea of preserving nature in the back parcel. My objection to keeping that part is the same as the front parcels. Though the birds and animals adapt to the industrial nature of the land, no one has cleaned up those areas of the many pipes, cement slabs and construction debris that abound in the back part as should have been done before it was purchased for a park. I have no doubt lawn mowers have been damaged by the many pipes left sticking up along the banks of the ponds. If someone slips and falls there is a danger of them seriously hurting themselves. There is no safety equipment to help someone should they happen to stumble and fall into the ponds. What is the town’s liability if any of those things happen?
I am in favor of a skate park for the children of Berlin, just not at Heron Park.
- We have to ask what age the skate park would be for?
- Are we doing it to attract business to the town or to give our children a safe place for them to practice their skateboarding skills? I truly believe there is enough land in Stephen Decatur Park that could house a reasonable skate park for our young people.
- Stephen Decatur Park is central to the entire town. You can see that by its usage.
- It is across the street from the Police Department and easily accessible from the West and East sides of town. To me it is the ideal place to put a skate park. It would be fun for all to be able to watch the young skateboarders in action.
- I am wondering, are there objections from the community around Stephen Decatur Park, that keep it from being the ideal place for a skateboard park?
- We do not need an entertainment venue.
I asked two eighth grade boys that were skateboarding back on Purnell Street near Buckingham Elementary what they thought of a skate park at Heron Park vs. Stephen Decatur Park and they said they would rather Stephen Decatur Park. Their dad said the same. He said he was at Heron Park once and that was enough.
You did a poll to name Heron Park online, why not do one about the sale of Heron Park?
I am unsure what you will do with the recycle or storage that you are using at this time, but I believe you can find other places. Put the recycle back where it was. I find going to the current site in the evening is a little scary.
Thank you for your attention.
Wind Farms Response
Jared Schablein’s recurrent litanies regarding wind farms are not only getting old, they acknowledge a painful ignorance of the fine print involved. Just a sample:
Most of the parts for a wind turbine are built in Germany and Denmark.
It requires 60 gallons of oil to lubricate the turbine (where do you think that oil leaks when a seal fails?). Wind farm technicians regularly power wash the oil off of the turbine towers, which ends up in the ocean.
Each wind turbine costs an average of $3 to $4 million. They require extensive initial and refresh lubrication that is also extremely expensive to perform. Wind turbine blades are changed out quite often, normally every two to three years. The blades, which are made of a toxic fiberglass combination, are buried in landfills in Wyoming.
Countless maintenance necessities all require the use of fossil-fueled vehicles!
The turbine has to spin continuously for seven-plus years just to replace the energy it took to manufacture the turbine.
It has to run continuously for 50 years just to pay for the cost to manufacture and install the turbine. However, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the lifespan of a wind turbine is less than 20 years.
Turbines do not spin 24 hours/day. Many go days at a time without being operational. Most require a minimum of 8 mph of wind to operate. A lot of times there is not enough wind to run them. Then there are times that there is too much wind. Anything over 35 mph wind speed and wind farms have to shut down the turbines so they don’t end up overheating.
According to a fact sheet about the Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm, their five turbines save 11,000 barrels of oil a year. For perspective, that is just 16 rail cars of oil. For more perspective, the US uses over 20 million barrels of oil every day.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that between 140,000 and 500,000 bird deaths occur at wind farms each year. They also disrupt the feeding and nursing grounds of valuable fish, including striped bass and summer flounder.
Most importantly, the incredible damage they would do to OC’s No. 1 tourism commodity, our ocean view.
Oh and one more thing – Texas.
Article Understated Cost
In your article that appeared in The Dispatch on March 12, 2021 entitled “Public Works Campus Ribbon Cutting Set,” it leads off stating, “Resort officials this week got their first look at the town’s new state-of-the-art, $25 million public works campus at 65th Street with a walking tour in advance of next week’s formal ribbon-cutting ceremony.” This is not accurate because the Public Works Campus has actually cost at least $39 million. The article further states, “The project came with an estimated price tag of around $25 million, of which the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) was on the hook for about $14 million, with the town responsible for the remaining $11 million, although there were some change orders and other adjustments along the way.” The $14 million and the $11 million amounts are also not accurate.
In a letter to the editor which I wrote, and which appeared in The Dispatch on Jan. 29, 2021, I spelled out the details regarding the fact that the MTA funded a total of $20.3 million, with federal grant funds for the project. I further pointed out that the Town of Ocean City had $18.7 million in the project. Below is what I wrote in part, in my January letter:
“Initial Needs Assessment studies, Design and Engineering cost the Town over $1.75 million, and the MTA funded an additional $1.75 million. Construction and construction management oversight cost the Town nearly $11.1 million, and the MTA funded an additional $18.5 million. Land at 64th Street, originally purchased for Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion, but now developed as a ground level parking lot as part of the Campus Plan, along with early land improvements and interest paid on the 2010 bond to fund the acquisition cost the Town nearly $2.28 million. Interest over the next several years on the 2018 bond to fund the Campus Plan construction is over $4.9 million. These totals will cost the Town over $20 million. The MTA has funded a total of $20.3 million. Thanks to a bond premium of almost $950,000 which is cash applied to the construction, along with almost $376,000 in interest on bond proceeds, the Town is able to reduce their costs by over $1.32 million. With this reduction, the cost to the Town drops to $18.7 million.”
In my January letter, I added, “What was presented as a $25 million project will now cost at least $39 million dollars.”
Editor, I would appreciate your setting the record straight on this matter. Thank you.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.