By Terry Rogers
On Monday, September 26, Milford City Council will view a presentation by DelDOT regarding the proposed expansion of the Delaware Bayshore Byway. Currently, the Bayshore Byway extends for 52 miles primarily along Route 9 from New Castle to the intersection of Route 9 and Route 1. The state is proposing expanding the Byway from Dover to Lewes. They are also planning on including extension towns along the Byway with Milford and Slaughter Beach two of the towns suggested.
“It seems there are more overall positives with being included in the Byway program effort,” said Mike Hahn, ACP, DelDOT Planning & Byways Coordinator. “It can increase tourism, maintenance awareness, funding opportunity programs, self-preservation and economic benefits for the locals as well.” Mr. Hahn says that the program is too new to say that increased traffic may be a spillover of the program as drivers an already travel the roads or visit the sites on their own. He says that the Byway program will package elements together and create programs that town and byway leaders can use to guide, manage and implement the Byway on their own.
City Manager Eric Norenberg provided a detailed description to City Council members in the Council Packet at the meeting. He said that participating in the program would allow Milford to be designated a byway and that the town would have representation on the Byway Partnership Team. An updated corridor management plan would include Milford and the city could use the designation to market and develop new Discovery Zones. There would also be leveraged funding opportunities for projects included in the program.
“If the City decides to participate, the State and City will work together to develop the exact location of the Byway,” Mr. Norenberg said in a letter to Council that was included in the packet. “Milford is perfectly situated along the byway to provide the commercial resources needed for those traveling and experiencing the byway and bayshore area. Inclusion in the program would provide additional awareness and positive marketing for the community and its businesses.”
Since the Bayshore Byway was first established in 2007, the Delaware Bayshore Initiative was established as a new effort to revive and really cooperative conservation efforts across the Bayshore landscape. The program has received recognition from the United States Department of the Interior’s America’s Great Outdoors 50-State Report as one of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world. The goals of the initiative are to conserve wildlife habitat, enhance low-impact recreation opportunities on public lands and promote strong bayshore communities by encouraging ecotourism.
DelDOT hopes to expand the program into eleven additional towns between Dover and Lewes. South Bowers Beach, Bennett’s Pier, Big Stone Beach, Slaughter Beach, Fowler Beach, Broadkill Beach and Milford are all included in the list of towns where the program wants to expand.
More information about the Delaware Bayshore Byway can be found by visiting http://www.deldot.gov/information/community_programs_and_services/gate/. A Byways map is available at http://www.deldot.gov/information/community_programs_and_services/byways/index.shtml. The presentation at the Milford City Council meeting is open to the public.
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