By Greg Ellison
(April 28, 2022) Berlin’s mayor and city council weighed approval for an event, while considering overhauling flag designs and updating the Stephen Decatur Park walking path at their Monday meeting .
Taylor House Concert
Council members voted unanimously in favor of a request from the Taylor House Museum to sell beer and wine at an upcoming outdoor concert.
Taylor House Museum president Melissa Reid said a one-day permit was applied for to allow the sale of alcohol during a installment of her “Concerts on the Lawn” series scheduled for June 12.
Taylor said Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist Ronny Smith, from the Baltimore area, will perform outside the museum from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
“Lawn concerts will be held every other Sunday this summer,” she said.
Smith’s stopover, which shared a stage with jazz luminaries such as Donald Byrd, was funded by the Maryland State Arts Council.
“Because he’s a top musician, we were trying to sell beer and wine on the lawn,” she said.
Reid said the museum has sold beer and wine at social events before, but never during the concert series.
“People can have a drink and listen to good music,” she said.
Council members also approved a revamped city flag and logo created by graphic designer Brian Robertson.
Robertson said conversations about redesigning the city flag began in October.
“We wanted something symbolic that the city could rally around,” he said.
To achieve the goal, Robertson said the first steps involved standardizing colors and typography.
“We offered nine different flag designs and four seal options,” he said.
Robertson said a monochrome version was also created for use with dark or light backgrounds.
“The Council has chosen from various models and that is what is here now,” he said.
The goal was to update the city seal for use in limited spaces without the image overlapping.
“If you shrink the seal into a small space…it disappears,” he said.
In terms of cost, Robertson provided a “deep hometown discount” with $100 billed for design services.
Park walking path
Council members reviewed options for resurfacing a walking trail in Stephen Decatur Park.
Director of Public Works Jimmy Charles said in previous discussions with contractors that “crushing and sinking” gravel materials had been recommended instead of asphalt.
“The contractor said he could save $20,000,” he said.
Despite the lower price, Charles said concerns have been raised about maintenance.
“Crush and run would require more maintenance than long-term asphalt,” he said. “The long-term cost savings may not outweigh the benefits of asphalt.”
Charles estimated that the asphalt would last up to 25 years. In contrast, he said loose gravel surfaces have a shorter shelf life.
“We would have to do more annual maintenance and it wouldn’t last more than 20 years,” he said. “We may have to reconstruct the path in 10 years.”
Mayor Zack Tyndall said asphalt would provide a smoother surface.
“It impacts those learning to ride a bike or parents with strollers,” he said.
Laura Sterns, Member of the Berlin Parks Commission, and Mike Wiley, Chairman, also provided input at the meeting.
Wiley said regular users of the four-foot-wide trail surrounding Decatur Park, which includes a large percentage of seniors, have expressed reservations about using loose gravel.
Sterns said the park trail was installed a decade ago on an experimental basis using material from the Maryland Scrap Tire Program.
“They tried it and it was cool at first, but it didn’t hold up to the winter and started to warp,” she said.
After reviewing material options, members of city council agreed to proceed with resurfacing the asphalt.