River Town, Art Town, Hometown – Downtown Milford Inc.

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This month Downtown Milford Incorporated (DMI) received four 2010 Downtown Delaware Awards for their revitalization efforts.  George Carroll and Chuck Stanko, owners of Dolce Coffee and Bakery, won the award for Outstanding Main Street Merchant.  Gary Emory, Director of the City of Milford Parks and Recreation Department won the award for Main Street Champion for his volunteer efforts downtown. The Bug and Bud festival won an award for Best Special Event. Scott Angelucci won the award for the Best Façade Improvement Over $10,000 for the new Riverwalk Center for the Arts. 

Downtown Milford Inc. is a volunteer driven, grassroots approach to promoting development of the traditional business district of Milford.  Executive Director, Lorraine Dion, recognizes that “The future of downtown Milford is tied to its past” DMI is focused on the preservation of Milford’s historic buildings, helping the economic restructuring of existing businesses and recruiting new ones, and promoting downtown as a destination.

DMI is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. The National Main Street Center is a nationwide grassroots initiative that has been successfully revitalizing downtown areas for over 30 years.  The organization uses the unique assets of individual downtowns to create a vibrant retail and cultural destination for thriving community centers.

The Downtown Milford Inc. programs that are most visible to the community include the Annual Bug and Bud Festival, the Holiday Stroll,   Riverwalk Arts & Jazz Festival and the Farmers Market. They also have been promoting a new community branding initiative designed to give Milford a common identity and coordinating cooperative advertising opportunities for downtown merchants. 

DMI hopes that their efforts will not only revitalize the downtown area but revive the heritage of Milford.  “Our heritage, which is based around the Mispillion River, is very important.  You have to know where you have been to see the direction of where you should be heading.” said Lorraine Dion. The Downtown Milford Inc. currently has over 130 members and is reaching out to all who live in the city of Milford.  The next step is introducing students to the world of entrepreneurism.  Lorraine and her Assistant Director Elizabeth Purcell want to introduce a program that pairs together businesses and high school students.  These business mentoring workshops will help acclimate kids to the world of private enterprise and show them the opportunities that small businesses provide to the community. 

Monthly, Downtown Milford Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford host business workshops called Tools of the Trade.  They occur every first Tuesday of the month from 6:00-7:30pm.  The next workshop will be Tuesday, November 2 at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way.  The topic for the evening will be Understanding your Marketing Niche.  Please check out the other dates on our community calendar page or call DMI at 302-839-1180.

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