BERLIN – The town is planning to build a new community and senior center sometime in the near future, but the “when” and “how” are still uncertain.
Berlin officials recently posted a link on the town’s Facebook page to the new project website. This sparked interest from local residents, who queried as to the project timeline, the possibility of a pool and more.
However, Town Manager Arosha Jayawickrema confirmed with the Herald on Monday the project was no closer to a groundbreaking due to the covid-19 pandemic.
No referendum date has been set and community information sessions are not yet in the works.
“Public outreach is still in limbo due to covid,” Jayawickrema said. “No public meetings are scheduled at this time.”
Public forums initially gaged interest in 2018, with residents expressing excitement about the possibility of a project. The town was awarded a $750,000 grant from the state in 2019, to begin a study for the new facility. Quisenberry Aracri Malik (QA+M Architecture) was enlisted in April 2020 to design the project and execute the plans.
But before the design is finalized, the price tag is set and the plans are put out for voters’ approval, a list of steps must be completed. This pre-referendum work started in May of 2020.
Four potential sites for the new building were examined by the project team, which determined Patterson Way, close to Berlin High School, to be the most viable building location.
The next steps would be to hold public information meetings, revise the designs based on feedback and finalize the concept plans before a referendum.
Town plan and zoning staff have reviewed the architect’s initial drawings and the firm is currently revising exterior plans in response to their comments.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.