On Monday, February 10, Charles Gray, President of the Milford Community Parade, requested financial assistance from Milford City Council to cover the cost of DelDOT-required highway signs notifying motorists of detours related to the parade. Mr. Gray was requesting that the city cover the between $450 and $1,000 cost of the signs.
“During bridge construction in 2012, DelDOT came to us and informed us that we had to place lighted highway detour signs at Route 14 and 113 to inform motorists that there were detours in the downtown area during the parade,” Mr. Gray explained. “We were under the impression this was only due to the bridge construction and was a one-time-only requirement. Last year, two weeks before the parade, Mike Rivera of DelDOT came to us and said that it was now a DelDOT regulation that when roads were to be shut down for a certain length of time, those lighted signs must be in place. He told us that DelDOT could have the parade shut down if those signs were not there.”
Mr. Gray said that, at the last minute, the parade committee was able to find partners that funded the placement of the signs, but that they were hoping for assistance from City Council for this year’s parade, scheduled for Wednesday, October 15.
“I can’t speak for Mike Rivera, and he is not here,” said Chief of Police, Keith Hudson. “These are DelDOT rules and we have no control over them. We do apply for the DelDOT permits for the parade as we are more aware of the coverage and traffic control we need than the parade committee does, but that is the extent of our involvement other than policing the event the night of the parade.”
Mr. Gray agreed that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the police department, but that there was a misunderstanding between the parade committee and DelDOT. Councilman Doug Morrow asked if this requirement was true for any event that closed streets, and Chief Hudson said that anytime streets would be closed, this was a requirement.
“Unfortunately, every organization who has an event that closes streets will need this type of signage, so if we do this for one organization, we will set a precedent,” said Councilman Skip Pikus.
Councilman James Starling asked Mr. Gray if there was any way to rework the budget for the parade to include the cost of the sign.
“You said you found partners to help you last year when you found out they had to be in place,” Councilman Starling said. “Can you reach out to them again for assistance?” Mr. Gray indicated that they could attempt to do that over the next few months.
Council did not vote on the request, but informed Mr. Gray that, although they are extremely supportive of the parade, they were not comfortable providing monetary assistance for the highway signs.