Berlin Officials Talk Lamp Post Corrosion

BERLIN – Dog urine is to blame for deteriorating lamp posts in Berlin, according to town officials.

Municipal staff asked residents this week to refrain from letting their dogs urinate on the Victorian lamp posts in Berlin’s downtown area. Dog pee is corroding the base of the posts, according to Tim Lawrence, the town’s electric utility director.

“At our last staff meeting Tim brought up the deterioration of the lower half of our historic lamp posts downtown due to dogs—dogs lifting their leg,” said Ivy Wells, the town’s economic and community development director. “Many people don’t notice but if you look at some of the lamp posts you se how deteriorated they are. Yes they’re unsightly but the biggest problem is that the acid is getting into the infrastructure of the lamp post and deteriorating the wires.”

Wells said town employees were encouraged residents to keep their dogs from urinating on the lamp posts as they walked in town. She said she’d identified a product that could potentially help with the issue and had passed that information on to Lawrence. In the meantime, she’s hoping communication will help curb the issue.

Resident Gladys Watson said she felt the issue could be solved by the addition of a dog park, possibly to Stephen Decatur Park.

“I actually take my dog to Decatur Park to walk but I think there’s a big space that could be utilized as a dog playground/park,” she said. “I think all these issues that you’re talking about, dogs doing things on the street, they could walk their dog from Main Street over to Decatur Park.”

Watson said she drove her dog to Ocean City and Ocean Pines to visit the dog parks there. She said she paid a $25 annual fee to use the Ocean Pines park and $100 annually to use the Ocean City park.

“I don’t mind the fees because the dogs get to have camaraderie with other dogs,” Watson said. “I think dogs need that just as much as humans need it.”

She she’d just like to see a park closer to Berlin and had already written to the mayor with the request.

Mayor Zack Tyndall said he hadn’t seen her letter but assured her the request was being noted.

“We’ll make sure we pass that along to the parks commission,” he said.

Councilman Jack Orris questioned the logistics of ensuring pets were vaccinated.

Town Administration Mary Bohlen said dog owners would have to submit their paperwork to the town.

She said there wouldn’t really be a way to police whether users had submitted the required paperwork or paid a fee.

“It’s primarily the honor system,” she said.

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.