County Approves Little League Fields Purchase

BERLIN – Officials approved a contract this week for Worcester County’s purchase of 12 acres of Berlin Lions Club property.

The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract with the Berlin Lions Club for the purchase of 12 acres of land where the Berlin Little League fields are now. The contract approval comes after the state authorized the use of $1.2 million in Program Open Space funds for the purchase.

Last month, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a recommendation from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to commit $1,268,400 in Program Open Space (POS) funding for the acquisition of 12 acres from the Berlin Lions Club. In an interview after that decision, Worcester County Director of Recreation and Parks Kelly Rados said the county had been in conversations with the Berlin Lions Club regarding the property for some time. She said the club wasn’t initially sure how much land it wanted to sell so the county agreed to purchase the 12 acres where the little league fields are now. The purchase of an additional  six acres is being planned for next year.

When presented with a signed contract from the Berlin Lions Club for approval this week, Commissioner Jim Bunting asked whether the buyer or seller was responsible for the surveys that needed to be done for the sale to take place.

The county’s attorney said the cost would likely be split.

Bunting objected to the county being responsible for any of the surveying costs. He said he’d voted against the proposed sale previously because the terms of the sale kept changing.

“We had an agreement, they were going to take two acres out and we had a price,” he said. “And now they’ve come back and they only want to let us have 12 acres…at a cost that was more than we verbally agreed to.”

Bunting said that a survey would have been simple when the property was only being split into two lots—the portion the county was buying and the two acres the Lions Club was keeping. Now, however, the property will have to be divided into three lots—the one the county is buying, the one the Lions Club is keeping and the one the club could sell to the county in the future.

“It’s become more complicated…,” he said. “It could get expensive.”

Bunting told his peers he did not want the county to be responsible for surveying costs. The commissioners subsequently voted unanimously to approve the contract with the Lions Club as long as the county would not be responsible for surveying costs.

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.