The Economic Development Advisory Panel has been established for just over one month but has already made some progress toward their mission. The panel is charged with bringing new ideas to the recently developed Economic Development Strategy for the future of Milford. The Advisory Board will make recommendations to the Economic Development Committee that will then be reviewed and taken to the Milford City Council.
“As the panel moves forward it needs to go out and look for ideas to be an attribute for the town,” stated Dave Hitchens, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Panel. “For example, we have the Bug and Bud Festival but we need ideas that create Milford as a destination that are year-round and compliment what has already been started.”
Mr. Hitchens commits that the job of the advisory panel is to offer possible ideas and opportunities to the Milford City Council that will then review and consider whether such projects are feasible, practical and good for the entire city. Two ideas that they have been looking at is an aquarium and a museum that displays Milford’s heritage of shipbuilding.
The advisory panel had begun to create a conversation with the community about what their necessities and desires are for the future of the city. A survey that will be distributed to commercial entities is aimed at soliciting the opinion of local businesses regarding their ideas of roadblocks to keeping businesses competitive.
“As a business owner myself I would be thrilled if someone came in and asked me what I would like to see in the future of Milford,” commented Sher Valenzuela, Chairwoman of the Advisory Panel. “The business surveys will give us a great indicator of how and where we need to make progress.”
On their agenda is to study other growing municipalities in the state of Delaware, such as Middletown, and investigating what has made them successful. The advisory panel is looking at many variables including commercial electric rates in comparison to the city of Milford. They are looking for opportunities to help businesses and create more economic prosperity.
Chairwoman Sher Valenzula has talked with Junior Achievement to help create a partnership with the business community to encourage young people to be more involved in the business community. Their experiential programs teach students “work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy” (http://www.ja.org). Junior Achievement is currently looking at Milford to open a Southern Campus.
At their next meeting on Wednesday, May 4 the Economic Development Advisory Panel will host special guest Daniel Wolfensburger. Daniel is CEO of Kent Economic Partnership, a non-profit economic development arm of the greater Dover area. They collaborate with the Chamber of Commerce, City of Dover, private developers and the community to help business enterprises interested in the area. Mr. Wolfensburger will talk about the success of the organization over the past 25 years and promoting greater economic development.
On May 9 at 7 pm the advisory council will present their recommendations to the Milford City Council for the first time at City Hall. Both the May 4 and May 9 meeting are open to the public and residents of Milford are encouraged to participate.