The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford held their first community forum in over 25 years. Over 30 non-profits and businesses were represented at the meeting which was held at the Milford Parks and Recreation building on Thursday, February 17. Among the organizations present were Bayhealth Medical Center, Milford Ministerium, Downtown Milford Inc., DuPont Nature Center, Second Street Players and Milford School District.
The purpose of the forum was to reach out to the non-profit sector in Milford and identify what each organization felt was a pressing issue in the community. Each representative was allowed time to present their top two priorities to the assembled group.
President of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milford, Fred Rohm, commented that he felt the event “was highly successful. We were able to attract a group really representative of the community and I was encouraged by the ideas that came to the forefront. We will now approach the entities that are most able to carry the ball with these issues and start moving forward.”
The ideas from each representative were posted on the wall to encourage further discussion and analysis throughout the evening. Some of the issues mentioned included retaining young graduates, increasing foot traffic downtown, programs for adolescents, attracting higher education, redevelopment of abandon properties and expanding mentoring programs.
To get a feel for which topics were most important in the community each representative was given $1500 in “Milford Bucs” to prioritize the list of issues. Participants then used that money to “invest” into the projects of their choice, with a limit of $500 for individuals to be used on one issue. The issues that received the highest bids were deemed “most important” to those in attendance.
“It was a great idea to gather a cross section of leaders from the community in business, non-profits, civic organizations and churches to brainstorm what the true needs are for this community. The important next step to the process is continuing the dialogue by identifying leadership that can help affect the needs of the community,” commented Mike Kazala, Vice President of the Milford Chamber and General Manager of Eagle 97.7, Cool 101.3 and La Exitosa 930 AM.
The top three issues that were discussed were attracting higher education, expanding the job base and economic development. The Chamber will be publishing the list of all the issues raised at the meeting and distributing them to the public.