BERLIN – The scrap-tire walking and jogging path long intended for Stephen Decatur Park should begin construction this spring, the Berlin Town Council learned last week.
The five-foot wide path will be laid out around the park, stretching six-tenths of a mile and will accommodate walkers and joggers. Bicyclists will be asked not to use the path.
State grant funds from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) will fund construction. The Maryland Board of Public Works approved the project last fall and the funds are already encumbered for the work.
“I like the price,” said Berlin Mayor Tom Cardinale.
“The price is right,” said Councilman Elroy Brittingham.
The state money comes from MDE’s scrap tire recycling program. For every tire sold in Maryland, 80 cents of the purchase price goes into that fund, which is intended to clear up tire dump sites and fund demonstration projects using recycled tire materials.
The path was first proposed several years ago but funding was not available.
“I’m really confident it’s going to happen this time with your blessing,” Todd Ziegler of Maryland Environmental Services told the town council.
The path will probably have two entryways, Ziegler said, one off the parking off by the memorial and the other off the main parking lot, both to be delineated by landscaping.
Work could begin on the path as early as March, if the permit process can be completed and the weather is good. The project will install all signs as well as the path.
No trees will be taken down to make way for the path, Ziegler said.
“Construction is estimated not to exceed six weeks,” he said.
Work will begin with a four-inch layer of crushed stone, followed by two inches of asphalt, and then the tire material.
Construction should proceed in phases.
“If it were my project and my town, I would not want this all dug up at one time,” Ziegler said. “From a safety standpoint you don’t want to dig up the entire path at one time.”
The town would like to see fitness stations added along the path.
“They’re very simple exercise stations,” said Mary Bohlen, special projects coordinator for Berlin. “There’s no moving parts. It’s simply a matter of positioning yourself and following the instructions.”
Ziegler said he plans to apply for permits in the next few weeks, and hopes to send out a request for construction proposals in the first few weeks of January.
For all the weeks news in the Greater Ocean City area, see The Dispatch on Friday.