CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story
stated that Mr. Angelucci appeared before council
representing Downtown Milford, Inc. This was incorrect.
We regret the error. – ed.
At the Milford City Council meeting on Monday, May 13, 2013, Scott Angelucci, owner of Angelucci Fine Woodworking & Stained Glass Studio & Artist Gallery., requested assistance from council members to purchase two unique signs to be placed in two locations on Route 1. Mr. Angellucci hopes that the signs will encourage visitors to the area to visit the downtown area of the town.
“The concept is to develop more interest in downtown,” Mr. Angelucci said. “We want people to see Milford as a destination as downtown is much more vibrant than it was six years ago. Merchants need customers to thrive and this signage could not only increase business downtown, but could expand to other areas of town as well.”
The signs, unlike traditional billboards, would have plastic letters placed on metal supports, giving the letters a “floating” appearance. There would be landscaping, which Milford Parks and Recreation would maintain, according to City Manager, Richard Carmean.
“I obtained estimates from two local companies as I wanted to try to keep the business in Milford as much as possible,” Mr. Angelucci said. “The letters have a lifetime guarantee and would cost $27,090.00, while the supports would cost $5,832.99, for a total cost for both signs of $32,922.99. The city charter states that if a project costs over $30,000.00, it must be placed out for bid, which could mean a company outside of Milford would be awarded the project.” City Solicitor David Rutt confirmed that if the project was more than $30,000, it would need to be placed out for bid.
“We just turned down a billboard and I am concerned that this could be construed as one,” said Councilmember Dirk Gleysteen. Mr. Angelucci stated that the signage would not be a billboard, as it is not advertising, simply promoting, the downtown area of the town.
“I think it is a good investment for the city to make and will help with economic growth downtown,” said Councilmember Bryan Shupe. “I feel that the city really needs to move forward with this project as it falls under economic development.”
Chuck Stanko, owner of Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop, said that he represented six businesses located in downtown Milford who, although they felt that the sign was a good idea, found the subheading too limiting. The sign would read “Milford – River Town, Art Town Home Town.”
“Some of the businesses downtown have nothing to do with art, and we feel the sign should simply read ‘Milford’ as the subheading suggests there is only art downtown,” Mr. Stanko explained. Mr. Angelucci pointed out that the “River Town, Art Town, Home Town” logo was a branding decision and that the city adopted the logo several years ago.
“I don’t want art to become a dirty word,” Mr. Angelucci said. “We are not trying to take over downtown, but to make downtown a destination. When people come for art, they will also stay at bed and breakfasts, eat in restaurants, visit coffee shops and purchase gifts.” Mr. Angelucci said that the he is working with the state to install more of the blue “Attractions” signs that tourists are very familiar with that indicate the location of museums, galleries, food, lodging and fuel. The two signs in question would be in addition to those signs, which would provide more details on exactly what businesses were available downtown.
Milford City Council voted unanimously to begin the process of purchasing the signs. Mr. Angelucci was asked to return to the two local businesses to see if the price could be lowered to below $30,000. If not, the council agreed to place the project out for bids, setting a limit of $35,000 for the entire project to be funded through economic development.