BERLIN– Town officials approved the transfer of property expected to one day be home to a community center.
The Berlin Town Council last week unanimously approved the transfer of two parcels of property from the Berlin Community Improvement Association (BCIA) to the Town of Berlin. The parcels, currently home to Head Start and a multi-purpose building, will be added to property already owned by the town that is slated for a community center.
“That’s going to make a beautiful community center site,” Councilwoman Shaneka Nichols said.
Mayor Zack Tyndall told the council during last week’s meeting that the town was continuing its efforts to consolidate the parcels near the multi-purpose building so a community center could be built on Flower Street.
“What we’re doing here, if the group remembers, we had an MOU where we entered into an agreement with the BCIA and Shore Up to be able to say hey we’re going to work together and consolidate these parcels for the purpose of a community center,” Tyndall said. “If it’s not used for a community center those parcels of property would go back to the BCIA.”
The parcels to be transferred are labeled as parcel 841 and parcel 843. One is currently home to Shore Up’s Head Start building while the other is home to the multi-purpose building.
The town attorney noted that the BCIA had a 20-year lease agreement with Head Start. That will expire April 30, 2028.
“The Town of Berlin is not in any way trying to cancel the agreement with the transfer,” Tyndall said. “We are just trying to consolidate the parcels so we can move the community center project forward.”
He added that once the two parcels were consolidated with what the town already owned and the parcel deeded over by Worcester County, the site would be slightly more than seven acres. Staff pointed out that part of it was an offline wetland and not buildable.
Councilman Jay Knerr asked what would happen if the BCIA dissolved and the community center wasn’t built. The attorney indicated the town would likely retain the land in that case.
“The other crucial part is… the group in our meetings has been trying to work with BCIA to ensure the 501c3 is in good standing,” Tyndall said. “It’s a crucial partner. It’s important that all parties are at the table together. There’s certain things Shore Up can do, certain things BCIA can do, that the town can’t.”
Nichols added that the BCIA would advise the town if something like that were on the horizon so next steps could be determined.