Berlin Staff To Review Safety Of Main Street Buildings

Berlin Staff To Review Safety Of Main Street Buildings
File Photo

BERLIN – Town staff are expected to review the Main Street buildings undergoing renovations in advance of next month’s Berlin Christmas Parade.

Members of the Berlin Historic District Commission said this week they wanted staff to visit the buildings on Main Street that have been undergoing renovations for some time to ensure they were safe before the town’s Dec. 1 Christmas parade.

“We’re not going not have another meeting before the parade,” commission member Carol Rose said. “I would like to at least have the chief go up there and look. I’d like to have it barricaded so people cannot lean against it that night. I’m worried about that glass.”

Last week, Councilman Jack Orris said he’d been approached by residents who thought the town’s planning department should look at the storefronts on Main Street, those being renovated by Jack Burbage, prior to the Christmas parade to ensure the glass and bricks were stable before large crowds covered the sidewalk.

Members of the town’s historic district commission expressed similar concerns this week.

“I was worried about the big panes of glass that have cracks, people leaning against them during the Christmas parade,” commission member John Holloway said.

Planning Director Dave Engelhart said at this point the only options were to barricade off the area or board up the windows.

“We actually have an ordinance that says you can’t plywood up windows,” he said.

Englehart added that the Maryland State Highway Administration would be paving Main Street in the coming weeks. He indicated that would create strong vibrations that could impact the glass if it wasn’t secure.

“That milling, where they tear up the pavement, is supposed to start Monday now,” he said.

Rose, noting that the buildings had been in a state of partial renovation for nearly a year, said she felt the safety of the structures needed to be reviewed before kids and families were in the vicinity of the buildings on parade night.

Engelhart said he wasn’t sure if the best solution would be barricading or using caution tape but that he would look into it in the coming weeks.

When asked about the timeline of the renovations following this week’s commission meeting, Samantha Pielstick, Burbage’s property manager, said work was proceeding.

“We are moving as fast as possible,” she said. “The project is in review and has been for some time with the local authorities. It all takes time and we are moving as fast as we can with a project of this scope and size.”

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.