- Ren Gudino
What Berlin, NH is Doing Better than Everyone Else
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Is this a potential love song to the previously unheard-of town of Berlin, New Hampshire? No, this is a blog post. I originally researched Berlin to showcase how this town of 10k was recently granted 19 million dollars. Now, I debate if I should start with the creative and innovative pitch they submitted, their efforts to boost tourism or their history as a former paper and logging town. We're here to talk infrastructure, though and how this small town is changing itself for the better by utilizing funds from the Infrastructure Bill--so let's start.
For comparison’s sake, remember that we (Interstate Signways) are located in Little Rock, Arkansas, and are considered a “small” city with a population of 201,998. Berlin’s population is only 5% of ours. Their description as “at the falls of the Androscoggin River and on the northern rim of the White Mountains,” paired with these images (see below), makes this city seem like a real-life Stars Hollow (the fictional idyllic Connecticut town from WB’s/CW’s Gilmore Girls). I’ve not often romanticized these cities too much. I’ve heard horror stories about those northern winters and their effect on their roadways. Plus, my family and I recently experienced the confusing interstate signage and Lake Erie fog–both of which showed me that while these places are stunning and have so much to see and experience, there are cons.
However, Berlin’s beautifully formatted pitch to divert heat from the local Burgess BioPower biomass plant to create a snowmelt system has earned them 19 million in funding thanks to the RAISE grant–a product of Biden’s Infrastructure Bill. The plan includes rebuilding the roads and sidewalks, repairing bridges, and increasing industry function by giving residents access to their centralized areas of business. The end goal is to boost tourism, by having the town open more year-round to encourage access to their miles of ATV trails in the Jericho Mountains and an array of camping, hiking, and fishing opportunities along the Androscoggin River. If nothing else, it’ll save the town 100k a year on the cost of salt and snow removal every winter, and that alone is a massive benefit.
What’s fascinating about this project is that there is still plenty of funding available in RAISE grants–and any organization or town, no matter how small, is encouraged to apply for these funds to improve their infrastructure. Frankly, it seems like the most challenging parts of this process are thoroughly mapping out the project and then finding a grant writer that is equal parts business-centric, concisely scientific, and inspirational speaker. The Telegraph even wrote this article to give folks ideas of what to pitch. If you don’t want to read it, it basically says to pitch something that will “improve, repair, and modernize” infrastructure and transport as well as focus on “reducing traffic, growing our economy while shrinking our environmental footprint.”
Why do we care?
Because we’re a signage company! We produce, package, and deliver road signs across interstates and highways. If you remember the issues in Birmingham during the World Games and the general issues in Virginia for residents, there’s no reason why this RAISE funding shouldn’t be pitched for in these areas. Whenever all of these repairs and improvements to the infrastructure are completed, these cities will need quality signage without worrying about supply delays (we process our own aluminum), design, or delivery. Like they say in marathon running, you want to finish strong. Don’t push through a 10k race just to fall short of the finish line.