Berlin Borough can expect to see myriad improvements, some new, some continued from last year, in 2022.
In an interview with The Sun, Mayor Rick Miller reflected on the economic development in town over the past year. Though officials continue to meet with developers and property owners, the mayor noted how the pandemic changed what most developers are interested in.
“ … Most developers just want self-storage, apartments or truck parking,” he explained. “It is frustrating that the borough does not have a grocery store to call its own. When the developers for these locations put a pin on the map and do a study of the 1, 3, 5 mile radius density needed to support a new store, we fall short of their needs.
“It is a constant battle of balancing commercial development and the residential component developers need to support their commercial endeavors,” Miller added
Despite the setbacks, he shared that the upcoming entertainment facility is slated to open in the late spring at the old Kmart site.
“We are hopeful that it will spur additional investment in that complex,” Miller said.
Officials have been acquiring property adjacent to borough hall as it becomes available to be in control of and the catalyst for redevelopment of the downtown area. It is also hoped that improvement of Simone Farm Preserve will happen in the new year.
The town will continue to invest in streets and roads and water and sewer infrastructure in 2022. That includes acquiring a new street sweeper purchased in 2021 to improve the look of streets and keep debris from entering storm drainage systems, though national supply chain delays may push its delivery into 2023.
Miller wants to start a “Berlin Saves Lives” program that was halted due to COVID. Privately funded, it would enable Berlin residents to get a safe, free ride home if they drink at an establishment in the borough or in Voorhees.
“Voorhees started the program a few years ago, and we are looking to team up with them to allow our residents to get home safe,” Miller said.
As events go, it will be business as usual. Celebrations at Easter and Halloween will entice residents and there is the potential for events from the Downtown Berlin Revitalization Corps (DBRC). The Fourth of July parade cancelled for two years will be back as well.
Patricia Cummings and Jake Miller will continue in their seats on council.