Last week the City of Milford and Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI) began replacing the trees and shrubbery downtown as part of the City’s Tree and Grate Project. The Tree and Grate Project is part of the larger Milford Streetscape plan that is aimed at creating sidewalks that are attractive and more pedestrian friendly, encouraging individuals to venture downtown.
The Streetscape Project began in 1995 adding trees, shrubbery and brick sidewalks to Walnut Street and both sides of Front Street. Just a few years ago the aging shrubbery surrounding the trees was taken out and replaced with rocks. Although the idea was to substitute the shrubbery for a material that required less maintenance, the rocks soon became hazardous and created a very narrow and unsightly walkway for pedestrians
City workers began the process of taking out the aging tress and rocks last week and replaced the areas with a more pedestrian friendly sidewalk. New trees were added to Walnut and Front Street and the areas previously filled with rocks were replaced with bricks that matched the current sidewalk. The sidewalks on both streets are now wider and less intrusive to businesses and residents downtown.
“We are very excited to see the new streetscaping take place,” commented Chuck Stanko, owner of Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop. “I think it is going to look good in the spring and it is nice to see a uniform look downtown. We are very fortunate to have organizations like the City of Milford and Downtown Milford Inc. that work on projects to make Milford look more beautiful.”
The Grate and Tree Project began as a pilot project last year on Front Street adjacent to Wilmington Trust. Three shade trees with grates and two benches were purchased for the site to encourage residents to enjoy the downtown area and open up the sidewalk for pedestrian traffic. Vintage Metal Works, a nationally known company based out of Milford, created grates around the trees which protect them from the heavy traffic volume along Front Street and enhance the appearance of downtown.
The success of the pilot project led to the expansion of the Grate and Tree Project to include Walnut Street from NE and NW Front Street to City Hall, NW Front Street from Walnut Street to Church Street.
“I think it looks great and they are doing a great job,” commented DMI Design Committee Chairman, Mitch Edmondson. “ The big advantage will be the larger sidewalks and more room to walk.”
The Tree and Grate Project is expected to be completed around December 15 after the installation of grates which will surround each tree, flagpoles and a bicycle rack located at the Milford Public Library.