BERLIN – Municipal officials agreed to send a letter in support of Ocean City’s request for sports complex funding from the state.
The Berlin Town Council voted 4-0 this week to have Mayor Zack Tyndall send a letter to the Maryland Department of Budget and Management in support of the Town of Ocean City’s request for $1.2 million in state funding to perform a site assessment and start preliminary design of a youth sports complex.
“I think it’s appropriate for us to support the initiative for a sports complex,” Councilman Jay Knerr said. “I think it would be a great thing for Worcester County so I think we should all support this letter. This in no way obligates us to a location. That’s yet to be decided.”
Tyndall told the council he was seeking approval of a letter he planned to send to the state in support of the Town of Ocean City’s November request for $1.2 million in funding.
Councilman Jack Orris asked if Tyndall could provide any information about the efforts of the sports complex task force Ocean City formed to help bring a facility to the area.
Tyndall said he was on the task force, which is made up of residents, business leaders and elected officials, along with Councilman Steve Green and Councilwoman Shaneka Nichols. He said the group had held two open meetings.
“I think they’ve been covered accurately in the media,” he said.
He added that there had also been two closed session meetings regarding specific properties.
“That’s where we stand. I don’t know if there’s anything else we can share at this time,” he said.
Green said the public would have the ability to comment as the process moved forward.
“I think it’s important to know our Town of Berlin citizens will have the opportunity to opine on this and weigh in,” he said.
“We have made sure the concerns that have been previously noted by our citizens have been relayed,” the mayor said. “They’re not lost in the discussion. The Town of Berlin is well represented by the committee members. We’ve advocated for a public discussion when the time is appropriate.”
Orris asked if supporting the letter meant that the town was supporting the resort’s request to increase the room tax.
“This is a budgetary request not related to room tax at all,” Tyndall said. “The governor has the discretionary budget to be able to put something like this in and the appropriate channel to make that request is through the Department of Budget and Management which the Ton of Ocean City has done. This letter just supports their request.”
The letter, which was unanimously approved by the council, seeks support for Ocean City’s funding request and highlights the potential jobs a sports complex would create as well as the positive economic impact it could have.
“The Town of Ocean City has determined that $1.5 million is needed to perform site assessments, preliminary design, and cost estimates for the facility,” the letter reads. “The Town of Berlin supports the Town of Ocean City’s request for $1.2 million in state funding for this effort and understands that that Town of Ocean City will supply the balance in local funds. The Town of Berlin believes a regional sports complex of this size will contribute positively to the local and state economy and further leverage Worcester County as a tourism destination in Maryland.”