By Terry Rogers
Milford City Council voted on Monday, November 25 to allow Travis Carter of Atomic Arc-Work to begin the process necessary to create a highway sign intended to draw visitors to the downtown Milford Area. Scott Angelucci, owner of Angelucci Fine Woodworking & Stained Glass Studio and Artist Gallery had requested assistance from the council in May 2013 for funding to erect two unique signs that would be installed on Route 1. Council agreed to the project, but stated that the price must be below $30,000 to avoid placing the project out for bid.
“Mr. Angelucci has worked hard on this project, and the contractor who is willing to do the work managed to get the price down to $30,460,” Richard Carmean, City Manager, explained. “I do like that the contractor is using mostly local vendors for the supplies, but because the price is still almost $500 above what council allowed, I informed Mr. Angelucci we would have no choice but to put it out for bid. However, he contacted Downtown Milford Inc. to see how they could help.”
“We worked very hard to get the numbers down,” Mr. Angelucci told council. “I approached DMI and asked if they would be willing to supply the balance of $460 so that we did not have to put the project out to bid, which would further delay the process. They agreed to cover any amount of $30,000, up to $700.” Councilman Garrett Grier pointed out to Mr. Angelucci that concrete was not included in the project, and asked if that would drive the price up further. Mr. Angelucci explained that the concrete had never been included in the project, and that he understood the city contracted concrete work.
“I would expect the concrete to maybe cost $500 or $600, but if council decides to go with the project, I may be able to talk to our concrete contractors and see if they might be willing to donate the concrete,” Mr. Carmean explained. Council discussed the necessary permits from DelDOT, and asked if Mr. Angelucci had presented any of the project to them.
“I don’t have the authority to go to DelDOT,” Mr. Angelucci explained. “Originally, Mr. Masten who was the Economic Development Director when this project began, was handling all of that, but now that his job has been phased out, I am not sure how it will work. It would have to be someone of official capacity from the city.” Mr. Angelucci explained that he was simply requesting that the project be awarded to Atomic Arc-Work who would then be responsible for getting all DelDOT permits.
“Mr. Carter has installed similar signs in the State of Maryland, so he is familiar with the regulations in that state, which are not much different than Delaware,” Mr. Angelucci explained. “This is the next step to the project so that we can begin moving forward to get the permits we need.” Mr. Carmean explained that with many tourists rushing to the beach, there is a significant amount of traffic on Route 1 and Route 113, but that many visitors travelling on Route 1 are unaware what was offered in Milford.
“The problem on Route 1 is that you can’t see anything in Milford like you can on Route 113,” Mr. Carmean said. “This signage would be eye catching and should draw more people into the downtown area.” Mr. Angelucci explained that he often heard in his downtown business that people found his studio by accident.
“They often tell us what a wonderful city we have and ask why we don’t advertise,” Mr. Angelucci explained. “This signage is an effort to address that problem.” City council voted unanimously to proceed with the project, placing conditions on the motion that the signs must be approved by DELDOT and other state agencies and cost no more than $30,000 to the City of Milford.