Conversations in Milford to assist strategic plan initiative

MILFORD — Conversations have begun between city of Milford officials, residents and local business owners in hopes of continued growth and dialogue while the community participates in the city’s strategic plan initiative.

More than 25 people attended the first meeting Thursday, Oct. 19 from inside the Music School of Delaware’s Milford Branch. City Manager Eric Norenberg facilitated along with Evan Miller, an International City/County management Association local government management fellow. He is working with both Milford and Rehoboth Beach for this fiscal year.

“We hope this is an opportunity to speak to you, the people who live, work and play here, and continue our commitment to growth,” Mr. Norenberg said.

Topics ranged from safety and security to recreation and education.

“This is good. I appreciate that we’re involved in this,” Ruth Houston-Behrens said during the first Conversation meeting.

Those involved in that first meeting brought up concerns such as the fire siren, sidewalks and a lack of recreation opportunities downtown for younger families. They also expressed appreciation for vibrant downtown activities and recreational possibilities through the Boys and Girls Club and Abbott’s Mill Nature Center.

The meetings were scheduled after surveys sent to residents over the summer were analyzed by Mr. Miller and findings were presented to the Milford City Council last month.

“One area that showed as a concern in the survey results is code enforcement related to building and property maintenance.  We are certainly aware of these concerns and have taken steps over the past year to make improvements. We have stepped up inspections, follow-up and implemented other strategies to help address code violations,” Mr. Norenberg said during the council meeting.

“One of the most successful programs is the Downtown Development District program.  We are seeing property owners making repairs and reinvesting in both owner-occupied homes and rental properties.  And, investors are buying homes in the DDD to rehabilitate and either live in or use for investment purposes. However, there is more we can do and we ask residents to help by reporting observed code violations either on the city website or by calling City Hall.”

Residents can also plan to attend future Conversation meetings to help voice their opinions and questions with city officials as the strategic plan initiative continues, he said.

Several additional meetings have been scheduled with various organizations and groups. One such meeting will be held at Arena’s in Milford Wednesday, Nov. 19 at noon.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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