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


Public portion of strategic planning wraps

(Feb. 26, 2015) With the fourth and final meeting Saturday, Feb. 21, Berlin wrapped the public input phase of strategic planning sessions intended to map out town projects for the next three-to-five years.
Next, the process moves to town hall for a pair of meetings on Wednesday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Thursday, March 12 for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Town Administrator Laura Allen said she was pleased with public participation during the meetings.  
“I feel the meetings went very well,” Allen said. “We had very good attendance, especially at the beginning during the first two. There was lots of really good discussion and it’s clear to me that the folks that came to the meeting care deeply about the town and where it’s going and they want to be a part of it. For me, that’s very exciting.”
Facilitator Christine Becker estimated close to 60 people attended the first meeting.  
“I think they were very productive,” she said. “Each session was a separate event and we’re in the process of gathering information and figuring out what we’ve got.”
Allen praised Becker’s role during the meetings.
“She did a fantastic job,” Allen said. “She had a good way of synthesizing the comments that were coming from folks and highlighting themes, which kept the meetings moving and gave them more cohesion. She really created some cohesion in the discussion.”
Maintaining Berlin’s tradition, Becker said, was a reoccurring theme throughout the meetings.
“That came up often – wanting to maintain what makes the town so special,” she said. “The next step is I’m going to go through all the information that we have and we’ll try to summarize it and analyze it and figure out what the recurring themes are,” Becker said.
While the town is seeking to map out the next several years, Allen said part of the discussion included “asking folks to think about Berlin 10, 20 years from now, in part to get a bigger focus.”
“The idea being we do the action plan, we work through the priorities, and in another three years we look at refreshing it, going through the process again and checking in with the community to see if they’re happy with the way things are going and if they’re good with the priorities or want to change them up again,” Allen said.
Next, the town will release a web survey, allowing anyone who missed the meetings to weigh in on the town’s future.
“We’re expecting that to go on the website Thursday [Feb. 26],” Allen said. “We’re giving folks a week to respond – we need the surveys back by March 5 – and in part we need that because Christine is going to use that for the discussion with the mayor and council on the 11th and 12th.”
Paper versions of the survey will be available at Town Hall.
Allen said the public is welcome to attend the workshops with the mayor and council, although the meetings “are not designed for a lot of public input.”
“The action plan that we’re going to be putting together will be going to the mayor and council, so there’s another opportunity for folks to come and about the process or the content of the action plan,” Allen said.
The town has yet to set an exact date to review the plan, although Allen said those meetings would likely occur during the end of March or early April.