By Lisa Fitzgerald
What if you and your neighbors in Delaware didn’t have to travel to Baltimore, Camden or Virginia Beach to visit an aquarium? What if the educational benefits and natural beauty of an aquarium and marinescape were right here in our own backyard?
This vision could become a reality in the near future, thanks to the work of some local residents. “The Friends of the Milford Aquarium” is a new Milford-based non-profit organization with the mission of bringing the area’s first regional aquarium to Milford.
Group founder William Pilecki has a dream of bringing a 35,000 square foot aquarium to Milford. In fact, he has researched other regional aquariums and even visited one in Long Island to see firsthand the benefits of a first-rate attraction for the local economy.
Aquariums attract groups of children on school field trips, tourists on the way to or from the beach resorts and can even be used for events like concerts, weddings, birthday parties and retirement parties. It would offer volunteer and paid staff positions and would generally stimulate the local economy.
At this point, the group is finalizing the incorporation process and beginning to spread awareness about the non-profit and its mission to the community. The first steps it must undertake is to raise enough seed money for a professional business plan. Then, the organization must raise additional funds to hire an architect specializing in aquarium design to prepare plans and suggest a cost estimate. The group is looking to raise funds for the project from a combination of public and private sources.
The group’s first major fundraiser is a set of two shows to be held at the Milford Senior Center on Friday, July 13. The first band starts at 5 pm and features “Ernie Bradley and the Grassy Ridge Bluegrass Band.” The second performance is at 7:30 pm and features the Appalachian style music of “The Company Store Band.” Concertgoers may purchase tickets for either or both shows. Tickets are available at the following Milford businesses: The Milford Senior Center, Lou’s Bootery, K&S Auto Care, Manlove Auto Parts, and Concord Pets. Questions about the concert can be answered by calling the Senior Center at 422-3385. For more information about the group or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.