Berlin Borough Council met for its October session last week and hosted a public hearing regarding an ordinance on planting of bamboo and similar invasive plant species, among other issues.
But first, council issued a proclamation recognizing October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the borough. Council hopes the proclamation will help highlight that more than 231,000 women and approximately 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
According to Mayor Rick Miller, the proclamation will be framed and sent to the South Jersey Breast Cancer Coalition, which operates along the White Horse Pike. The SJBCC raises awareness on the importance of annual screenings for breast cancer, while also helping with funds for those currently battling the disease.
The meeting later addressed the bamboo ordinance, though without public comment. Municipal Clerk Dwayne Harris had reported that after council’s September sessions, complaints from residents about bamboo and other invasive plants raised interest in the ordinance.
The plan would ban more than 10 invasive plant species, including bamboo, but would exempt those already in the borough as long as they are not allowed to spread. Future complaints from residents about existing plants could lead to their removal by the borough.
The council meeting also addressed an ongoing water main replacement project and potential redevelopment of the borough’s old Kmart site.
Councilwoman Patricia Cummings stated during her council report that the water main project by National Metering Services is underway after its start earlier this month. It is now in the first phase of a multi-year project.
“Residents will receive a letter and are asked to schedule an appointment to get their water main replaced,” Cummings advised.
According to Berlin Borough, the water main replacement takes approximately 45 minutes and is free to residents. Residents will receive a letter from National Metering Services to make arrangements for an appointment.
Those with questions regarding the process are asked to reach out to the company’s customer service center at (888) 448-0009.
Regarding the borough’s former Kmart, the mayor reported that he has communicated with the realtor and a potential buyer of the site.
“I’ve been trying to keep it a secret because I didn’t want to jinx anything, but some residents saw the new buyer at the Kmart site,” he added. “It is under contract; they’re supposed to go to sale next week. I’ve been in contact with numerous buyers that have fallen through over the past 10 months … but it seems like it’s going to go through.”
According to Miller, the buyer wants to clean up the property and put up new storefronts, and also improve its lighting systems and parking lot, before any opening.
The Sun will follow this story as more information develops. Council’s next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 12, at the municipal building.