America's Coolest Small Town has dipped its toe into another competition — and this one has a $20,000 prize.
Berlin is pushing for people to nominate them for the "Meet Me at the Park" initiative, a contest sponsored by National Recreation and Park Association and The Walt Disney Company, which would give the town a $20,000 grant to be used to improve their parks if they receive the most nominations.
"This came to us via our membership with the National Recreation and Park Association," said Mary Bohlen, the administrative services director for the town. "We honestly haven't made any plans with the money, but there are some projects we could use it for."
The projects the town would consider using the money for included renovating the tennis courts at Stephen Decatur Park as well as installing bathrooms at Stephen Decatur Park and William Henry Park.
These projects are already funded by grants, Bohlen said, but the grants don't cover the entirety of the cost. If Berlin was to win the Meet Me at the Park vote, Bohlen said the funds they would receive from that grant would go toward covering the rest of the expenses for the projects.
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“Supporting local parks is essential to the health and vitality of communities everywhere,” said Lori Robertson, the National Recreation and Park Association director of conservation, in a release. “That’s why we are proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company to help fund critical park improvement projects in communities in need. We encourage everyone to join us in giving back to the places that shape so much of our lives by voting in this year’s Meet Me at the Park campaign.”
The competition runs until the end of April. People can submit their choice of a town once a day. The town with the most nominations at the end of the month will receive the $20,000 grant.
Those who make a nomination will automatically be in the running for a tablet outfitted for the outdoors.
There is no way to check to see how the town is doing so far in the contest, Bohlen said, but she and the rest of Berlin are hopeful for the result.
“Berlin is excited for this opportunity and confident that our citizens can vote our way to success — after all, that’s how we became America’s Coolest Small Town!” said Berlin Mayor Gee Williams in a release.
To nominate a town, go to nrpa.org/beinspired.
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