Berlin Scores Critical Demolition Grant From State; $500K To Help Tear Down Heron Park Building

Berlin Scores Critical Demolition Grant From State; $500K To Help Tear Down Heron Park Building
Heron Park's Parcel 57 includes the old processing buildings on the left in a file photo.

BERLIN– The state awarded the Town of Berlin a $500,000 strategic demolition grant for Heron Park this week.

On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced $63 million in awards to projects that promote community development and economic growth. Among the awards was a $500,000 grant the Town of Berlin applied for to help demolish the dilapidated chicken processing building at Heron Park.

“I’m really excited about this,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director. “This opens the door for this property’s potential.”

According to Wells, the town initially applied for the demolition grant last year. Though Berlin didn’t get the funding, state officials encouraged the town to reapply this year.

“They really liked the project there just wasn’t enough funding,” she said.

Wells worked with a grant writer and resubmitted the application to seek funding this time around. While the town hadn’t received strategic demolition funds in the past, she was cautiously optimistic that its $500,000 application would be granted. On Friday, the state confirmed that it had when it released this year’s awards. Hogan announced $63 million in state revitalization program grants. The funding went to 214 projects through six different programs, one of which was the strategic demolition program.

“We were very excited to read the governor’s press release and learn of the approval of our grant application

for this project,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said. “Town staff worked very hard on the application, and we look forward to receiving the official notification of approval before proceeding.”

While the Town of Berlin received $500,000 for Heron Park, other Worcester County strategic demolition awards included $175,000 for installation of a ADA accessible elevator at the Snow Hill Visitor and Heritage Center as well as $150,000 for pre-development activities associated with the revitalization of the former Bank of Ocean City Building.

“These projects and initiatives support responsible redevelopment that is driven by local partnerships,” Hogan said in Friday’s news release. “Our state revitalization programs spur economic growth in Maryland’s diverse and vibrant communities, attracting additional public, private, and nonprofit investment while improving quality of life for residents.”

In Berlin, town officials have been discussing possibilities for the more than 60-acre Heron Park property for months. Last month, the town issued a request for proposals regarding parcels 57 and 410, the sections of the park closest to Old Ocean City Boulevard.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the town council to decide what the future holds for Heron Park,” Wells 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.