Mayor to announce designs for Downtown Master Plan: Mispillion River Brewing Co. not moving downtown

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The former Carlisle Fire Hall on Church Street in downtown Milford, once a state office building, is vacant and is ready for tenants. City of Milford officials said Friday that no one has set up shop yet and it’s still available, despite rumors to the contrary. For more information about the building, call 302-674-3400. At the next city council meeting, Mayor Bryan W. Shupe will ask the board to approve creating a master plan to move downtown Milford forward, including finding new purposes for the city’s vacant properties.

MILFORD — Despite rumors to the contrary, Mispillion River Brewing Co. officials said Friday that they are not moving their business to the old Carlisle Fire Hall or the soon-to-be-vacant M&T Bank building both in downtown Milford.

For a number of weeks, word that the Milford-based brewing company made a deal to move into either the old fire house/former state service building on Church Street or the bank on Front and Walnut Streets has been buzzing around the city.

In response, the Milford Chronicle asked the beer makers if they were leaving their Milford Industrial Park location for a spot closer to the river in their company’s name.

“We do not have plans to purchase that space at this time. We are busy maxing out the capacity of our current building. It is a nice building though,” said Lauren Bigelow, Mispillion Brewing Co. spokeswoman.

Although the rumors so far aren’t true, the city of Milford is hopeful that its inventory of vacant buildings will find new life soon.

Milford Mayor Bryan W. Shupe said he’s been a part of preliminary discussions with a few parties interested in the old fire hall and M&T Bank building. He said, “We have not discussed specifics but just ideas.”

At the next city council meeting, April 13, Mayor Shupe said he will present the board with a way to move the downtown area forward and rejuvenate not just the vacant buildings downtown.

“I will be presenting to Council a proposal for a Downtown Master Plan that will be facilitated by Arnett Muldrow & Associates, a consultation firm that specializes in main streets across the nation,” Mayor Shupe told The Chronicle on Friday.

Arnett Muldrow & Associates is based in Greenville, S.C. and, according to its website, specializes in town planning, community branding, economic development and historic preservation.

“The plan will also include planning for several vacant buildings including the M&T Bank, old fire house, armory and the former middle school,” Mayor Shupe said.

If approved, the state will pick up the lion’s share of the tab for Arnett Muldrow & Associates’ work.

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Mayor Bryan W. Shupe wants to contract with a planning firm to put downtown on the right course.

“The Delaware Economic Development Office is offering $24,000 to the City of Milford for the Downtown Master Plan, which is estimated for just under $27,250,” said Mayor Shupe.

“If the proposal is approved by Council, we will assemble a team of local business owners and community leaders to participate in the plan. During our community discussions we will develop and pursue a plan to actively grow our downtown to include more of these attractions that enhance the sense of place that attracts residents and visitors alike,” the Mayor added.

Mayor Shupe said he’d like to see more restaurants or entertainment venues move to downtown Milford.

“To continue our downtown revitalization efforts we need facilities that will attract daily foot traffic to increase the number of residents and visitors in the downtown area. In my opinion, the M&T Bank and the old fire house properties would be ideal for restaurant or entertainment venues. These properties also offer parking areas for downtown Milford that will benefit other downtown businesses as the parking becomes available for public use,” he said.

Milford City Council meets on the second and fourth Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Joseph Ronnie Rogers Council Chambers at city hall, 201 S. Walnut St. Milford.

Managing Editor Logan B. Anderson can be reached at landerson@newszap.com. Follow @LoganBAnderson on Twitter.

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