Berlin Officials Extend Heron Park Negotiation Period

Berlin Officials Extend Heron Park Negotiation Period
An elevated perspective of the town’s Heron Park property, which was a chicken processing plant for decades, is pictured. File Photo

BERLIN – Municipal officials agreed to extend the negotiating period with the potential purchaser of Heron Park.

The Berlin Town Council on Monday voted 3-1 to approve a 180-day extended negotiating period. The decision comes after the town’s initial six-month agreement with Coastal Ventures Properties, which was made in June, expired.

“There are still ongoing negotiations between the town and Coastal Ventures Properties LLC,” said town attorney David Gaskill. “I thought it was appropriate we extend this agreement another six months to see that process through.”

After considering the sale of at least a part of Heron Park for some time, the town issued a request for proposals (RFP) late last year. In the spring, the town opted to enter negotiations with Palmer Gillis’s Coastal Ventures Properties LLC, one of the two entities that responded to the RFP. That proposal offered the town $1.5 million for three parcels—parcel 410,57 and 191—and would involve partial demolition of the existing structures to create a commercial project.

Gaskill said Monday negotiations were ongoing so he recommended extending the negotiating agreement another six months.

“Palmer Gillis, the president of Coastal Ventures Properties, has indicated that he would like to also extend that for the duration of 180 days,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said.

Councilman Jack Orris asked if a 90-day extension was possible.

“I really feel like another six months is just another six months to drag it on, for lack of a better term,” Orris said.

Tyndall said he would suggest sticking with the 180-day extension but pointed out that the town could finish negotiations sooner than that if possible. Councilman Jay Knerr asked what still had to be done before a contract could be developed.

Gaskill said there were still surveys that had to be done.

“As it stands right now the town is intending to keep part of the property,” he said. “The meets and bounds of what is being kept needs to be laid out.”

The council voted 3-1, with Councilman Dean Burrell opposed and Councilwoman Shaneka Nichols absent, to approve the extension. When asked why he opposed the extension, Burrell said he was concerned about the future use of the park property.

“I think the park should remain with the town until the town can decide the direction of the facility,” he said. “I think we need to be very careful in determining the use of the park and the impact to current locations and facilities especially our downtown.”

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.