Berlin Misses On Grant Attempts

BERLIN – The town will continue to seek funding for two major projects despite the news that recent requests for grants were unsuccessful.

Mayor Zack Tyndall announced this week that neither a request for wastewater treatment plant funding nor a request for funds for a pedestrian bridge over Route 113 were granted. He says the town will keep looking for other funding opportunities.

“We’re going to continue to find ways to position the town for funding,” Tyndall said.

As the county was set to consider ways to use $3.2 million in Rural Maryland grant funding, the Town of Berlin asked for $500,000 to help with its $2.2 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade. The town currently operates a 750,000 gallon per day facility that needs to be expanded due to residential and commercial growth. Planning is expected to start in fiscal year 2023 and construction is set for fiscal year 2024.

“Without the upgrade to our wastewater treatment facility, the Town of Berlin is projected to run out of equivalent dwelling units (EDUs), which means we could not support any economic development, growth or revitalization efforts within the town until an upgrade is complete,” Tyndall wrote in his request to the county.

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When the Worcester County Commissioners approved projects to target with grant funding last week, however, the Berlin wastewater treatment plant was not among them. Tyndall said he understood that the commissioners had their own process but that he was wasn’t able to talk with them during their meeting about the project.

“The thing is I would have liked the opportunity to plead Berlin’s case,” he said.

The town has earmarked $1 million of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to go toward the treatment plant upgrade, however, and Tyndall said there was also $700,000 in special connection fees to help as well. Because the town’s sewer fund is likely not capable of borrowing funds, Tyndall said the town would continue to look for grant options to help fully fund the upgrade.

Tyndall said Monday the town’s request for congressionally directed spending toward a pedestrian bridge over Route 113 had also not been granted. He said that while the request had the support of Sen. Ben Cardin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the project did not make it out of committee. The town will now explore the possibility of seeking transportation funding that could help with the $2 million project.

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.