City to Sell Property to Aid Parks and Recreation

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Map presented to City Council by Gary Emory,  located on the corner of Marshall and Mispillion Streets
Map presented to City Council by Gary Emory, located on the corner of Marshall and Mispillion Streets

At the Milford City Council meeting on Monday, March 11, council members heard a request from Gary Emory, Director of Milford Parks and Recreation, to sell a parcel of property originally intended to be used by the agency as a park. The property, located on the corner of Marshall and Mispillion Streets, is a 0.186 acre parcel that Parks and Recreation feels is not compatible with future plans for recreational activities in the city.

“The land was donated to our program by Henry Masten in 1985,” Emory reported. “We paid $1 to transfer the deed to the city, and there are no restrictions on the deed regarding its use. Originally, Mr. Masten wanted a park placed there.” Emory went on to explain that for many years the land was used as a park, but that the location made it difficult to maintain, and it was often the site of vandalism. Eventually, all park equipment was removed and it became a storage area.

“Neighbors complained about the old tires and other things that were stored there,” said Emory. “A few years ago, we went in and cleared it out, and it has been sitting vacant. I have gotten several calls regarding whether we would be interested in selling the land, as it is a corner lot.” Emory provided the council with an appraisal stating that the land was worth $18,000.

Councilman Skip Pikus recalled that the land was located across from what was Masten’s Salvage Yard, questioning whether there may be a need for DNREC involvement. Emory said that there were no issues with DNREC when the land was used as a park, so he did not believe that would be a problem. Councilman Owen Brooks recalled that the land was actually part of the parking lot for the salvage yard, and no discarded items stored there.

Councilman Steve Johnson asked what Parks and Recreation would do with the proceeds from the land, and Emory explained that the organization wants to create a bocce ball court, as he has had requests from community members for such an activity.

“The bocce ball court would be located in Bicentennial Park, which is close to the senior center and to the center of town,” Emory explained. “These courts are not cheap, so I would like to use the proceeds for that. Bocce ball in Bicentennial Park would be much more in line with the recreational activities of the program than a park on this corner lot, which is really not large enough to provide adequate recreation.”

Council voted unanimously to offer the land for sale by sealed bid, setting a minimum reserve bid of $18,000. All proceeds would be reserved for use by Milford Parks and Recreation.