Downtown Milford Inc., a non-profit organization aimed at “promoting quality development of the traditional central business district” in Milford, is gearing up for 2014. At the helm is new President of Downtown Milford Inc. Sara Kate Hammer, who was elected as the lead officer last November. With a desire to engage more community and business leaders with the organization, Hammer plans to continue the recent success of the organization and the downtown area as a whole. The 10th annual Bug & Bud Festival in downtown Milford, the Art on The Riverwalk Tour (ART) and the newly created Eat In The Street event are among those successes that the organization is looking to build upon.
“The tenth annual Bug & Bud festival was a great benchmark for ourselves to see how far we have come in ten years,” commented Hammer. “We had a record number of vendors and people that attended the event this year. We want to continue to grow the festival to highlight the city and the downtown area.”
The Art on the Riverwalk Tour successfully completed the first of three phases as 4-foot sculptures of Milford’s ship Augusta were placed on public display along the Mispillion River. This year the public art project will feature six more ships along the River, reflecting Downtown Milford Inc.’s mantra, River Town, Art Town, Hometown. The organization is now accepting artists’ application for phase two of the Art on the Riverwalk Tour.
“I was pleased to see the collaboration between Milford artists, the Milford High School and Milford Parks & Recreation to complete phase one of the ART project,” commented Hammer. “The ships look great and continue to attract attention from residents of Milford and visitors.”
The Eat In The Street event made its debut last year, as 100 individuals dined on Walnut Street, served by local restaurants, breweries and wineries. The event, which allowed neighbors to share some camaraderie alongside food and drink, is expected to grow larger next year. Hammer believes that events like the Eat In The Street help define ‘sense of place’ for the town of Milford.
“Downtown Milford gives a unique character and a sense of place to the town of Milford,” commented Hammer. “A sense of place is what we have that other towns do not. The people, businesses and events are what define the character of this town.”
President Hammer plans to also focus on economic development as the organization actively promotes the business district and seeks local entrepreneurs that can help drive the forward movement of newly opened businesses in the downtown area. In 2013 nine businesses in the downtown area opened their doors including Verde Italian Cooking School, Coolspring Cottage, Irish Rose, Longshots Sports Bar, Arena’s Dei and Bar, Sling With Me, Milford Massage and Wellness, It’s About Time and Manlove’s Choice Antiques. By looking at what the downtown Milford area already offers, the organization will pursue businesses that either fill a need for the community or compliment other businesses downtown. Part of that process will be continuing community outreach in the community and engaging local partners.
“We are looking for more investment, not just financially but volunteers and collaborations from individuals and businesses in the city,” commented Hammer.
The next Downtown Milford Inc. event will be the 4th Annual Toasting the Town: St. Patrick’s Pub Crawl in March. A growing tradition for the Milford community, the Pub Crawl features local businesses, highlighting restaurants, pubs and retail shops in downtown Milford. Individuals interested in volunteering or finding our more information about Downtown Milford Inc. are encouraged to visit http://downtownmilford.org or call 302-839-1180.