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City Council discusses proposed campground

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
July 30, 2020
BERLIN — At the last Berlin City Council work session, Roland Berthiaume presented plans for a 200-site campground that would be located along three commercial lots, as well as residential lots.

The developer relayed that he has acquired permits and has invested roughly $750,00 into the campground thus far, but says the price of the road makes the plan not 'viable'. As a result, the cost would be too high to charge those looking to use the lots.

Mayor Paul Grenier said, "I think it's a great project and the developers have demonstrated a deep commitment to making the Jericho corridor a huge asset to the future of Berlin. I'm fully in support of the project and will work to finding a solution that works for both the developers and taxpayers of the city."

Berthiaume inquired if the City would be willing to help assist with grants for the road portion of the project. Councilor Michael Rozek said due to the interest in that area, investing in the extension of the water and sewer lines would be a positive for Berlin.

To that, he did add, "Without a hard commitment it could be a disaster for taxpayers."

City Manager James Wheeler told Berthiaume that because the land is private property, grants would be harder to apply for, but extending the water and sewer lines could qualify for grant funding. To note, is that if the road was given back to the City, it would have to go before the Planning Board for approval. City streets could qualify under the Northern Borders grants however applications won't open for those until next year at this time. Further, if approved the funds would not be available until October of 2021, meaning that construction would not commence until 2022.

Grenier said, "This presentation isn't about how to get this done, but if the Council would support a public/private partnership to develop the area."

Councilor Mark Eastman said, "The City would be investing in a new neighborhood and I would like to help find funding, as Berthiaume has already shown commitment to the project."

Councilor Denise Morgan stated that she supports this project if the City has the capability to support it.

"This is a wonderful concept but I would not want the City to maintain it unless we could be certain that money spent would back to the city in taxes. The ideal situation would be to help privately fund the road," offered Councilor Peter Higbee.

Wheeler added that maintaining the road during the winter months should also be considered, if it was to be dubbed a city street. To that, Rozek said that tax dollars would cover the maintenance if it was developed.

In other Berlin news, Terry Letarte requested that the process begin to hire a new Recreation Assistant. She relayed that the money is in the budget and she would like the position to be filled by late September or early October to help with the winter season. The request was approved by all Councilors.

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