Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Public input could be key to harmony in Pines

As Ocean Pines looks to the future and, hopefully, tries to determine how much and on what they will need additional member funding for, board members should follow the recent example of the Town of Berlin.
Given the opportunity to make a landmark purchase of the old Tysons chicken plant and faced with a decision on how to best proceed with town needs and resident wants, the mayor and council decided to hire a facilitator and set up community meetings.
Providing residents, shop owners and others who are stakeholders in the town’s future an opportunity to be heard and help prioritize where town monies should be focused was a smart idea.
As is the case in all communities, there are always varied opinions and only so many resources to cover everything put forth. Berlin has learned that being inclusive allows all members of the public to feel they are partners of the result, whether their individual ideas make the cut or not.
One of the obstacles continually faced by Ocean Pines is many in the community feel decisions are made by only a select few. Setting up community forums with a facilitator allows the board to not only get valuable input but also keeps things focused, without straying into personal diatribes of frustration by residents.
The board, like many governing bodies, is made up of those who truly wish to better their communities. However, in Ocean Pines, mistrust has developed as property owners see large investments in projects specifically tiered to fall under the referendum radar time and again.
Following Berlin’s example could help the board change that dynamic. The town has developed a formula for success that it would be wise for OPA to model.