Downtown Milford Inc. Aims for 2012

By Lee Nelson

DMI Goal: continue to grow Downtown Milford into a more vibrant place to live, work, visit, and shop because ‘We are Milford’.

Challenges facing DMI: The difficult economic conditions – high unemployment, an uncertain economic future and reduced government expenditures (at all levels) present special challenges.

Additionally, if we do not maintain a viable downtown it will die and be forgotten like so many other small downtowns in America. Our families and children will be the poorer for not having a meaningful experience of shopping, working and living in a close knit neighbor/family oriented environment. The small towns of America gave us our unique entrepreneurial character, our caring and sharing of success/failure and working together to make our lives more rewarding and meaningful. The sum is greater than the parts.
We have to help downtown Milford maintain its unique historic character, be a viable place to live, work, visit, and shop under any circumstance.

What DMI wants to do this year: Our non-profit, volunteer driven organization is focused on economic development within the context of historic preservation. Much has been done, and there remains much to do.

We are focused on helping existing local businesses in our 30 block area not only survive, but thrive. While being fiscally responsible and volunteer driven, we want to work together on cooperative advertising, training, and special “days/nights” events. We strongly promote “Buy Local”, because if not, there will be no local.

We want to bring in new businesses which offer greater choice to our shoppers, preferably complement our existing businesses, while expanding the size and increasing the vibrancy of downtown Milford. We made a good start in 2011 with seven new businesses opening and only one closing for a net gain of six new businesses. In 2012, we need more to insure a critical mass, a diversity of choice and long term viability. Could you or your business be one?

To make downtown Milford a fun, family oriented place to visit and shop, we will host eight one day events including our signature 9th Annual Bug and Bud Festival, Milford Magic Mondays (three times), Toasting the Town St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl, A Spooktacular Evening, Holiday Stroll, A new event to be announced later…stay tuned.

We will expand our successful multi-month events including The Farmers Market (6 months),The Movies and Music Series (2 months)
and The Santa Claus House (2 months).

To maintain our unique character, we will continue to make downtown Milford a wonderful place to visit/shop with new flowers and signage. We are now a part of Delaware Tourism’s “History Trail” and will use this as an anchor to attract visitors/shoppers downtown.

We are an inclusive organization. In 2012 we will initiate an outreach program to minority businesses in our district and sponsor the Second Annual “Milford Business Mentoring Program” (MBMP) for high school students who want to become entrepreneurs.To do all these things, we need volunteers who are passionate about our town, public support, and partners to share the vision and the work.

The challenge is too big for any one organization. But together in partnerships we are making it happen. Our current partners include Milford Parks and Recreation Department: Bug and Bud Festival, Milford City Library: Movies and Music Series, Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA): For the minority business outreach and MBMP, Milford High School: For the MBMP and Over 100 volunteers who devote their time, passion and skills and without whom none of this is possible. Thank you.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. To do all these things in 2012, we need volunteers who are passionate about our town, public support, financial supporters and more partners to share the vision and the load.

Together we are making Milford a better place to live, work, visit and shop.? ?We are Milford.

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