Downtown Milford gears up, raises funds for new, branded bicycle racks

MILFORD — When cyclists visit Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop, co-owner Stephenie Tatman says they have few options, if any, for bicycle parking.

In support of Downtown Milford, Inc.’s fundraiser to raise $10,000 for the purchase and installation of artistic, branded bike racks around town, the coffee shop offered a portion of its proceeds Thursday, Jan. 11 toward the goal.

“It went really well. We were hoping to raise more, but we raised $250 for a bike rack,” Ms. Tatman said. “The other benefit that I found is, for some reason, WMDT ABC 47 news picked up the story. So, we got a 30-second blurb on the nightly news to promote cycling and the bike racks, and the cause we were trying to support. So, that was neat.”

Downtown Milford, Inc. is working with Lifecycle and National Main Street to see the fundraising project through, according to its Executive Director Murrie Zlotziver.

“National Main Street put out a grant looking to use crowdfunding as a way to raise funds for local Main Street projects that were involved in the placemaking process. The hook was that a certain amount raised would be matched by National Main Street. The amount that would be matched dollar for dollar for DMI was set at $3,400. However, our total goal is to raise $10,000,” he said.

“Pat Sparks, DMI promotions committee chair, attended a meeting in Reading, Pa. and developed the idea of increasing the number of bicycle racks in Downtown Milford, with input from Lifecycle, as our placemaking project.  Our participation in the placemaking workshop made DMI eligible to apply for this funding.”

To date, the project has garnered more than $7,400 in donations online at https://www.ioby.org/project/accessible-artistic-secure-bicycle-parking.

DMI hopes to “establish locations for at least five bicycle racks within downtown Milford and the Mispillion Riverwalk” areas by the end of February, according to their online donation link. By the end of March, they hope to have at least five bicycle racks installed.

Bicycle racks are needed throughout the downtown area, Mr. Zlotziver says. The exact number of racks installed will depend on fundraising.

“The bicycling community in general and specifically in Milford has grown. Lifecycle has been promoting and encouraging cycling in the area,” he said. “Bicycle racks will be placed strategically throughout the downtown area. This will allow easy and convenient access to Downtown Milford’s businesses.”

Supporting convenient access to downtown area cyclists will help businesses such as Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop as the local cyclist community continues to grow.

“We try to provide the best alternatives at Dolce as best we can. Life is about balance and moderation. We love providing sweets and treats are great, but healthy lifestyles are equally as important,” Ms. Tatman said.

But there’s one more reason Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop joined the effort: teamwork.

“The group of business owners we have right now in Milford is remarkable. We team up for things all the time. Lifecycle, I feel like in meeting Jenn [Rowan] and Ben [Jones] and seeing their passion for cycling and seeing what impact they’ve had in our community, it’s contagious I guess. So, you want to get involved because they’re so excited about it. You see them doing things for the community and you want to help,” Ms. Tatman said.

“As business owners, you want to do the same thing. But, when another business owner does it, you want to help. It’s definitely a community over competition feeling in Milford. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to pursue the American dream and fulfill what we’re created for and make a difference.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.