Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI) held a public informational meeting on Tuesday October 11 at the Milford Public Library to discuss community support for a Historical Preservation Ordinance to help protect Milford’s historic character. The presentation was opened by Mitch Edmondson, Chairman of DMI’s Design Committee, to discuss the possibility of a Historical Preservation Ordinance, gather information from members of the community and build support for moving forward in this process.
A Historical Preservation Ordinance (HPO) aims to protect and preserve historical structures and locations within a town for the purpose of conserving those pieces of history for future generations. A HPO for the city of Milford would expand the effort to recognize buildings, street patterns and monuments that have survived and grown in importance over time. Currently three historical districts have been recognized in Milford by the National Register of Historical Places: The Shipyard Historical District, North Milford Historical District and the South Milford Victorian District.
The adoption of a Historical Preservation Ordinance would expand these historical districts and manage the appearance of individual properties within those districts. Daniel Griffith, President of Preservation Delaware and Robin Krawitz, Southern Delaware Field Representative for Preservation Delaware, spoke about the possibilities of a HPO and the benefits of creating local historical districts.
“Creating a Historical Preservation Ordinance will honor, preserve and enhance the heritage of Milford,” commented Mr. Griffith. “It will protect the investments of owners and residents…result in a positive economic impact from tourism…and enhance business recruitment potential.”
The establishment of a HPO will create a Board of the Town Government with special tasks to administer the provisions of the ordinance. These tasks would most likely include establishing guidelines that help determine what measures should be taken whenever a government-owned historical property is being rehabilitated or when government funding is being used for a rehabilitation. This will create opportunities for the town of Milford to receive federal and state funding for historical preservation.
The creation of a Historical Preservation Ordinance is ultimately a legislative decision that must be made by Milford City Council. Downtown Milford Inc. hopes to serve as a community organization to obtain a “ground swell of support to draft a document to take forth to the Milford City Council,” stated Mitch Edmondson.
Downtown Milford Inc. believes that historic zoning is a good option for Milford and will continue to gather support for drafting a Historical Preservation Ordinance in their effort to preserve the historical integrity of the Milford community
“When you destroy the fabric of your heritage you destroy part of your soul,” commented Mitch Edmondson. “There is so much history in this town.”