Berlin Company and Town Officials at Odds Over Roadway Blockage - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Berlin Company and Town Officials at Odds Over Roadway Blockage

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Harrison Avenue road block put up by Adkins Company (WBOC) Harrison Avenue road block put up by Adkins Company (WBOC)

BERLIN, Md.- A right to deny roadway access has the Town of Berlin and the Adkins Company at odds. An intensifying battle over 500 feet of roadway has led the Adkins Company to block access to a once public street.

Harrison Avenue from Baker Street and Main Street has been blocked from through passing traffic since June. The portion of roadway at the heart of the issue is in the middle of Harrison Avenue where the Adkins Company sits. 

That portion of the road is privately owned by the Adkins Company, but the Town of Berlin wants it to continue as a public road. Stacked railroad ties and a posted "Dead End" sign physically stops traffic from accessing Baker Street and Main Street from Harrison Avenue. 

Adkins Company owner Richard Holland said his position is clear.

"We have closed the road, we are satisfied with the road closed and we're going to keep the road closed unless something changes," Holland said. 

Neither the Town of Berlin nor the Adkins Company are budging on their positions. The Adkins Company wants $400,000 for the town to have public access to the road. Berlin Town Official's said they will not cave into what they're calling extortion by the Adkins Company.

Town officials offered the Adkins Company $60,000 for the piece of property. The Adkins Company said the offer was unacceptable. 

Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said the offer is fair. 

"The appraisal that we received said the value of the roadway was $60,000, so we made that offer and then the Adkins Company decided to come back with a counter offer of $400,000 based on what they feel are damages that will occur by the exchange of the ownership," Williams said. 

Holland said, "The memorandum of understanding never looked at the entire property and what the value would be of the entire property  after taking this section of our property out to put a roadway in, so we said no. They were just taking it from the stand point of just being the section of the area where they wanted to put the road in and we were saying, 'Hey, you're damaging us.'"

Williams said the town is not caving to Holland's demands. 

"I think their counteroffer of $400,000 is disingenuous and outrageous," Williams said. "The counter offer is so outrageous to the Mayor and Council have taken that to be extortion. We didn't so much feel that way until they put a road block up, to me that's going way beyond the normal civil way of negotiating." 

Caught in the middle of the feud, are neighbors like Suzanne Parks, who lives on Baker Street where the Harrison Avenue traffic has been rerouted. Parks said the once quite street can't take the heavy tractor trailer trucks and traffic. 

"Our street is in bad shape, we've lived here 39 years and the street has had nothing done to it in 39 years, no maintenance at all and we want to keep the street because it's the last oyster shell street in town," Parks said. 

Parks said the Baker Street neighbors hope the town and the Adkins Company can come to an agreement. 

Although both parties the Town of Berlin and the Adkins Company are firm on their positions, both parties did say they're willing to go back to the table and renegotiate. When that will happen is not clear. 

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