BERLIN– With the addition of the Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley mural to a Commerce Street building, plans are now in the works to create a pocket park in the vicinity.
Benches, landscaping, new lampposts and even an electric vehicle charging station will soon be coming to the parking lot on Commerce Street in front of the Tindley mural.
“We’re going to try to do these improvements first and then in the next few years probably look at repaving that lot,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said.
In early June, artist Jay Coleman visited Berlin to paint the mural depicting the born-in-Berlin gospel music icon Tindley. Though the community celebrated completion of the long-discussed piece of public art, some residents couldn’t help but lament the loss of the trees at the front of the parking lot. Town officials said the trees were in poor condition and their removal allows the mural to be seen by more people.
“I believe they were Bradford pear trees and were no longer in good condition,” Tyndall said. “There are two more in that parking lot that might come down.”
He stressed that the Berlin Beautification Committee would be using some of the landscaping funds incorporated in the budget to add plantings to the area previously occupied by the trees. He said there were also plans to install benches and informative signage advising visitors of Tindley and his work.
While those improvements should come soon, Tyndall said the addition of Victorian lampposts and an electric vehicle charging station are planned for the future. Officials are also in the process of developing an honorary street name to be installed under the Commerce Street sign that would pay homage to Tindley.
Eventually, the town will apply for a streetscape grant through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development that would help fund the undergrounding of utilities and the installation of Victorian lampposts on Commerce Street, according to Tyndall. He’s hoping there could be funding opportunities through the Maryland Energy Administration for electric vehicle charging stations. In the meantime, he said both residents and visitors appeared to be enjoying the addition of the mural to Commerce Street.
“It’s so cool to be at that intersection of Commerce and Main Street and look over and see Tindley’s face looking over Main Street,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the mural.”
He’s thrilled with the recent uptick in public art in Berlin and wants to see even more of it moving forward.
“It radiates,” he said. “People connect with it. We’re trying to find ways to incorporate more of that in Berlin.”