City Invites Public To Join Downtown Plan

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Release By City of Milford

During the month of September the City of Milford will conduct a series of Downtown Master Plan meetings in order to create a coordinated and compelling vision for the future of the downtown district. The City has selected Arnett Muldrow & Associates to facilitate public input sessions, with local leaders, downtown merchants, property owners and community organizations, to gather information to guide the team in making its recommendations. Public sessions will guide design and planning initiatives and strategic expenditures in the public realm with a focus on economic development, supporting tourism and strengthening its sense of community.

“With our recent success in the forefront, the City of Milford is also experiencing a lot of moving parts, especially in the downtown area. As new businesses have opened and current businesses have expanded, there remains several vacant buildings that are vital to the revitalization of downtown Milford,” said Mayor Bryan Shupe. “Acknowledging that the City of Milford and my office represent the residents of our town, the creation of a Downtown Master Plan will allow us to move towards a unified vision that is created by residents, business owners, local organizations and community leaders. I am excited about the possibilities that will come from these public sessions and encourage every person that has an interest in Milford’s future to be involved.”

The nationally recognized city planning and marketing firm Arnett Muldrow & Associates has been hired by the City of Milford through a USDA Grant administered by the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) to conduct a Conceptual Downtown Vision Plan workshop from September 15 to 17. Arnett Muldrow & Associates have developed branding systems for 400 communities in 35 states, helping create and implement more Community Identity Systems than any other firm in the country.

A holistic planning charrette will be facilitated by the firm as a way to identify Milford’s unique character and provide implementation strategies for the nature and priority of public realm expenditures intended to stimulate private sector investment. Specifically, the charrette will address market analysis, physical design and planning, implementation strategies and branding and marketing.  This workshop is an intensive design-oriented revitalization program open to the public. It combines creative, intense work sessions with public input sessions over a three day time period.

“The results of these workshops have been pretty phenomenal,” said Ben Muldrow. “All across America we have seen where they have created new businesses, jobs, private and public reinvestment, as well as landscaping and streetscaping enhancements, not to mention a newfound pride and enthusiasm in the community.”

The process identifies tangible and intangible assets, presents design recommendations, preservation projects and promotional opportunities to the community, and creates excitement for citizens and both the private and public sectors. The ultimate goal for a workshop in Milford is to provide the community with an ongoing, flexible work plan that they can use to guide the continued revitalization of their town and stimulate further economic growth.

Ben Muldrow, of Arnett Muldrow & Associates, will facilitate the workshop and team members include Randy Wilson of Community Design Solutions in Columbia, SC and Tom McGilloway of Mahan Rykiel Associates in Baltimore, MD. The Arnett Muldrow Team will produce diagrams, plans, renderings, photo manipulations, branding and marketing collaterals to illustrate their recommendations. All of these products and recommendations are presented to the community on the final evening of the workshop. A follow-up report along with all electronic files is provided to the community as a toolkit to guide implementation on the recommendations of the workshop.

The public is encouraged to attend a kick-off Town Hall Meeting and the Final Presentation of the workshop. The Town Hall Meeting will be conducted on Tuesday, September 15 at 6:00 pm at the Arena’s Deli & Bar at 200 NE Front Street in downtown Milford. The Final Presentation will be conducted on Thursday, September 17 at 6:00 pm at Abbott’s Grill at 249 NE Front Street in downtown Milford. For additional information, individuals can contact Christine Crouch at Milford City Hall at 302-424-3712.

“Our downtown community will define the future of Milford and can act as a catalyst for growth throughout our city. A vibrant downtown will help refine our sense of place in Milford and enhance the opportunities that can be found here,” said Mayor Shupe. “With many successful businesses, art galleries, cultural experiences and recreational opportunities already found here in downtown Milford, we have a great foundation to build a vision for generations to come.”