BERLIN – The town is exploring the possibility of fundraising to help with the costs of a new community center.
As Berlin continues efforts to bring a new community center to Flower Street, Mayor Zack Tyndall said this week he was hoping fundraisers could help.
He wants to explore selling the town flag as well as the old street signs being replaced throughout Berlin.
“We know there’s money available in the community center fund, but this would assist,” he said.
Berlin officials have been working diligently in recent years to combine parcels of land near the Flower Street Multi-Purpose Building so it can be replaced with a new community center.
During Monday’s council meeting, Tyndall brought up the idea of fundraising to help with the project. He said he thought the municipality could sell the town flag and potentially auction old street signs that are in the process of being replaced.
Councilman Jack Orris asked if the community center advisory committee had met or developed any plans for the facility. Tyndall said they’d be meeting later this week.
“This fundraising item is not preempting anything the group may talk about,” Tyndall said.
Orris said he wasn’t opposed to fundraising but thought fundraising efforts were typically more successful once there were plans or renderings showing what the final product would look like.
“It’s good to know what people are actually contributing or donating to,” he said.
Orris also asked if the town, as a municipality, could fundraise. David Gaskill, the town’s attorney, said he didn’t see why not.
Finance Director Natalie Saleh, however, said there was some planning that needed to be done because the town was not supposed to make a profit.
“There is legwork to be done…,” she said. “We do have to have a plan laid out first before we go into the fundraising.”
Councilman Dean Burrell expressed support for fundraising but agreed the legalities of it would need to be reviewed.
“I think the intent is absolutely genuine,” Burrell said. “If the rules would prevent us from doing it, we have to abide by the rules, but I think it was a pretty good idea and a pretty good thought.”
Councilman Jay Knerr suggested the town look into working with the nonprofit We Heart Berlin on fundraising.
Tyndall agreed that a variety of options could be explored.
“We’ll circle back on this with a plan,” Tyndall said.