For 34 years Milford Parks and Recreation has been dedicated to improving the quality of life within our community by creating recreational opportunities. Mostly known for focusing on youth recreation the Milford Parks and Recreation Department has also been a critical player in promoting and revitalizing the heritage of the Mispillion River.
The Parks and Recreation Department began in 1975 when City Council asked the University of Delaware to perform an Urban Affairs Study on the town. The plan revealed that Milford lacked any type of organized recreation for the residents. Following recommendations from the university, City Council created the Mispillion River Plan to promote water-based recreation. In time, that emphasis on water-based recreation evolved into the youth recreation program which is so vibrant today.
The duty of the Parks and Recreation Department today is twofold. Expand organized recreation for the residents of Milford and develop the downtown Riverwalk to increase the opportunities for physical activities along the Mispillion River. Currently the organization controls over 120 acres of park land. Gary Emory, Director of Milford Parks and Recreation, hopes to create a blueway across the town of Milford for water recreation enthusiasts. “A focus on water-based recreation will help encourage healthy lifestyles while recognizing the heritage of the Mispillion River,” Mr. Emory stated. There is also a five-year plan to create a system of biped trails that connect schools and community neighborhoods.
The Milford Parks and Recreation Department is committed to the safety and education of the youth in this community. Gary Emory explains that “once these great recreational facilities are built, it is our duty to keep them clean and safe.” In response to the tragedy of Dee’jion Fullman last August the Parks and Recreation Department will be establishing a scholarship fund, in Dee’jions’s name, which will be used to help residents in the Milford School District learn how to swim and make safe choices when around water. Outreach programs like this one have defined the department as proactive in educating the youth of Milford.
Over the past 32 years Director Gary Emory has seen many changes. “It has been a challenging but rewarding profession,” Gary explains. “As soon as one challenge is met another one pops up; that’s public service in a nutshell.” Mr. Emory would like to see more adult sports and recreation in the future as Parks and Recreation continues to expand. With the development of a blueway that runs through the heart of Milford and the intention to create a system of biped trails to outlying communities Milford Parks and Recreation plans to expand opportunities for outdoor recreation to all residents of Milford.
For more information about Milford Parks and Recreation contact the office at 302-422-1104 Monday thru Friday 8am- 4pm. Registration for winter programs begins Saturday, October 23, 2010.