During an Economic Development Advisory Panel (EDAP) meeting on Wednesday, October 24 Milford resident and EDAP member Bob Connelly gave a presentation about the current aesthetics of the gateways into the city of Milford. Traveling around Milford, Bob and his wife Rosemary recorded the attractiveness of roads coming into the city including NE Front and NW Front streets on Route 14; Cedar Beach Road and Front Street on Route 36; and N Dupont Boulevard along Route 113.
Moving to Milford 5 years ago the Connelly’s admit that one of the reasons that they fell in love with the city of Milford was the beautiful downtown area and increase of awareness in the local arts community. Although they were able to discover the beauty of downtown Milford, their concern is that many individuals and families traveling to the area may not have the same opportunity because of how the gateways entering into the town of Milford appear.
“Since we have lived here we have been aware of the beautiful, inviting downtown area,” commented Mr. Connelly. “…but coming into the city from every direction it looks horrible. People are coming to Milford from somewhere else looking to possibly move here and we wonder what the effect of these gateways have on their decision.”
Bob also points to a citizen’s survey that was facilitated by EDAP in March of 2012 to gain information on how residents perceive the city of Milford and its future; more specifically the information that was gathered regarding the importance of city beautification. Among the information gathered from this survey, 94.8% of citizens surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “In order to improve and sustain Milford’s “quality of place” beautification of streets and roads should be a priority for businesses and the City.”
In his presentation Bob points out several business owners that have not taken care of their properties. During his research he recorded many manufacturing companies that leave equipment in eyes view and two businesses on Rehoboth Boulevard that leave products for sale outdoors during and after hours. Bob believes that the City of Milford needs to be more vigilant with code enforcement but also encourages businesses to take steps to improving the appearance of their property themselves through landscaping.
Bringing their concern to the City of Milford, Rosemary Connelly took City Manager Richard Carmean on a tour of the city’s gateways to get a first-hand experience of traveling into the city from out of town. After seeing the condition of the gateways entering into the city, Carmean agreed that improving these strategic roadways is not only an issue of city beautification but also a chance to increase economic development by enhancing the first impression that individuals, families and businesses have on the area. His thoughts on possible solutions for this issue included the creation of a public-private partnership that could connect the interests of the City, its residents and local businesses.
“It is kind of upsetting because there is only so much we can do since most cases are more of a private issue than public,” stated Carmean. “I would like to see the City and a private group of citizens working to create more welcoming gateways. The City can do a little more on enforcing the City Code when we are dealing with maintaining properties in City limits. I would then look to a private group of citizens to help facilitate the beautification process.”
Bob Connelly and Richard Carmean both commend the business Southern States on Route 14 for creating a beautiful entrance into the city of Milford. The business includes gas pumps and a warehouse that houses farming materials and products, but they have made an investment in their landscaping and created the model for the other gateways into Milford.
“We are competing with every other community in the state for business,” commented Mr. Connelly. “It will be difficult to be an economic developing city, keep our kids in town and attract a high caliber of businesses if we look like we do now.”
To see Bob Connelly’s full presentation to the EDAP Committee on Wednesday, October 24 visit http://www.cityofmilford.com/archives/91/102412p.pdf.