Board Begins Planning For Berlin Community Center

BERLIN – Members of the Berlin Community Center Advisory Board kicked off the planning process for a new facility with a meeting last week.

Mayor Zack Tyndall, Councilman Dean Burrell, Commissioner Diana Purnell, Gabe Purnell and DJ Lockwood shared their thoughts on how to begin planning for a community center on Flower Street.

“We need from the beginning to get the community involved,” Lockwood said.

For years, the town has been working toward building a new community center on Flower Street to replace the aging multi-purpose building. With the consolidation of the necessary parcels and approval of a memorandum of understanding with the Berlin Community Improvement Association, the nonprofit that owned the multi-purpose building late last fall, the advisory board is now ready to get moving on the project. Tyndall said he felt the process should start with a survey of community members, to find out what they were looking for in a center. Once the board has an idea of what people expect from a community center, the town can have plans drawn up and costs projected.

“Everybody says a community center,” Tyndall said. “We all have different ideas of what that looks like.”

Diana Purnell said she felt there needed to be meeting space in the facility for local nonprofits to use. Burrell agreed and said that while the community’s specific needs would change, space available for public use would always be important.

“We want something that’s multigenerational too,” Tyndall said.

Burrell stressed that the community center was for all of Berlin, not just Flower Street. He said he wanted to make sure all residents shared their ideas for the facility.

“This is a community center for the Town of Berlin,” he said.
“I think it is important to keep that in mind.”

Tyndall said town officials had already discussed some fundraising possibilities. Burrell acknowledged that could play a role in the process, but he said more needed to be done.

“To get started I think this community center needs to be an item in the budget,” he said.

Tyndall agreed that people would take the project seriously if there was funding allocated.

“If we’re going to put it as an initiative we need to put our money where our mouth is,” he said.

The board is scheduled to meet again Feb. 22. Tyndall suggested members spend the coming weeks asking area residents who might have historical information about the property to share it. They also agreed to research existing community centers to begin to compile ideas of what might work in Berlin.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

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.