City Council Addresses Economic Development Projects

cityhall21111On Tuesday, May 28 Milford City Council voted unanimously to renew a five-year grant for Downtown Milford, Inc. The grant, in the amount of $40,000 per year for the next five years, represents an increase of $5,000 per year from the previous grant awarded by council members in 2008 On January 15,  Irv Ambrose, President of Downtown Milford Inc. (DMI), presented a request to the city Finance Committee, stating that the organization would be in extreme jeopardy without the increase in funding. During that presentation, Mr. Ambrose explained that the main purpose of DMI is to support downtown businesses and encourage more businesses to locate downtown. Mr. Ambrose explained that, as of January 2013, eleven new businesses have opened in downtown Milford, and several more were planned over the upcoming year. Mr. Ambrose explained that DMI would not have been unable to achieve these successes without the support of the City.

“The $40,000 we receive from the city goes to offset the costs of our one paid employee, the Executive Director,” said Mr. Ambrose. “The rest of us are all volunteers, but much of the day-to-day work falls on the shoulders of the director.” After the January meeting, Councilman Skip Pikus, who is also chairman of the Finance Committee, said that he was impressed with the presentation DMI made to the committee.

“DMI works toward economic development in downtown Milford,” Councilman Pikus said. “Anything that council can do to help them build our downtown and encourage businesses to locate there, we should do.” The Finance Committee approved that council hear the request from DMI. At the May 28 council meeting, Mr. Ambrose reiterated the organization’s need for the additional funding over the next five years, and there appeared to be no opposition for the request from city council when they discussed granting the funding request.

In other economic development actions taken by the council, Richard Carmean explained that Baltimore Air Coil was requesting assistance from the City in regard to some of their wells. According to Mr. Carmean, the company needed additional water sources in order to properly use their fire suppression system.

“I asked the city engineers to find out what it would cost to get additional water to Baltimore Air Coil, and the cost came in around a half million dollars,” Mr. Carmean explained. “The company is willing to assist in the cost of the project, but we need to look into some grants and other ways to pay for it.” At the May 28 council meeting, Milford Economic Development Director, Steve Masten explained that he and Mr. Carmean had developed a list of priorities for infrastructure improvements, and that the Baltimore Air Coil project was one of the top priorities.

“Baltimore Air Coil keeps many of our citizens employed,” Mr. Carmean explained. “Therefore, we need to do whatever we can to keep them in Milford.”

Bill Andrews of the Kent County Economic Development Department and Mr. Masten explained that the City had applied for a grant from the department to help offset the cost of this project. Mr. Andrews and Mr. Masten provided council with details on the grant request, although no funding has been approved or received at this time.

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