BERLIN – Following a public input session in March, town officials are expected to have another discussion regarding the future of Heron Park.
Mayor Zack Tyndall said this week that the council would again discuss the park, and the potential sale of portions of it, in the near future. He says that discussion can’t take place until the parcel 57 appraisal is complete.
“In order to make that decision we’ve got to have the numbers,” he said.
The town hosted a special listening session March 15 to gauge public interest in selling two parcels that are part of the park property. The parcels that could be sold include parcel 57 (the old poultry processing buildings) and parcel 410 (a 10-acre rectangular portion of the property that runs behind Cropper & Sons and includes outbuildings and open space). When an interested purchaser had an appraisal of parcel 410 done, it was valued at $770,000.
The two-hour listening session on March 15 included several presentations outlining potential uses for the park property. Residents Tony Weeg and Ron Cascio suggested design charrettes for the property, allowing community members to work with developers to create a comprehensive plan for the land. Ann McGinnis Hillyer and Brad Hoffman proposed a public-private partnership, wanting to see the town keep the property and turn it into a concert venue. Berlin resident Marie Velong shared information on the many hazardous areas and leftover industrial debris in the park and called for its sale. Other residents shared brief comments, some in support of selling the land and others in support of keeping it.
While the council has not addressed Heron Park in the two weeks since the listening session, Tyndall said it would be discussed by elected officials.
“We’re waiting for the appraisal for parcel 57,” he said. “Once we receive that I’d like to have another discussion with the council.”
Tyndall added he’d enjoyed the dialogue at the listening session and appreciated hearing citizens’ ideas.
“Funding still is the main issue we’re facing as a municipality,” he said.
Tyndall added that Velong’s presentation particularly stood out to him.
“I don’t want anyone to perceive a public space in Berlin as unsafe,” he said. “That is something I hope we can correct. It was concerning for me to hear.”
The mayor said he hoped town staff would be able to address the safety issues identified by Velong this spring.