Letter to the community: Downtown Milford, Inc. hopes to repurpose Santa House

This letter was submitted by Downtown Milford, Inc.’s Board of Directors May 10, 2018. It reads:

Dear Milford Community:

Seven years ago, Downtown Milford, Inc. (DMI) set out on a mission to build a new Santa House to replace the House used for decades prior, intending to share the magic of Christmas with more children.  Milford and its surrounding communities embraced that mission and thousands of children have visited Santa from Shop Small Saturday in November to the weekend before Christmas Day each year.  That will remain unchanged.  We appreciate your continued support of DMI projects and events and we are happy to inform you that we are implementing a new use for the Santa House during the Christmas offseason.

We recently reviewed and created a new three-year strategic plan and revised the organization’s mission and purpose statements.  Our new mission is partnering to build our historic downtown into a unique, vibrant, and livable place for all.  Our purpose, goes hand in hand, and serves as the life-giving element for our historic downtown district.  That said, we believe more foot traffic is necessary to enhance the vibrancy and livability of the downtown area.

As part of our strategic plan process, our trainer challenged us to learn and implement the eight principles of Main Street – DMI is an accredited Main Street organization.  Specifically, number five relates to Identifying and Capitalizing on Existing Assets:

Business districts must capitalize on the assets that make them unique. Every district has unique qualities, like distinctive buildings and scale, that give people a sense of place. These local assets must serve as the foundation for all aspects of the revitalization program.

We believe the distinctive nature of the Santa House gives people a sense of place; therefore, we need to put it to good use year-round to build a stronger revitalization foundation.

Therefore, we’ve decided to repurpose the Santa House into a Santa-themed ice cream shop.  We’re currently looking into ice cream vendors to rent the House and run the business, but the agreement will state the House and theme will be prominent throughout, including elf costumes and holiday flavors, while their business name comes second.  Serving ice cream will bring people downtown, get them into our stores, and give life to Downtown Milford after 5pm.

We hope repurposing the Santa House into an ice cream shop will not only add value to the current downtown businesses, but will also encourage new business, civic, and cultural opportunities.  We welcome your engagement, including being a DMI volunteer, in these future life-giving changes.  We understand change is not always easy, however, we hope you support our decision and we look forward to sharing an ice cream cone with you this summer!  #WeAreMilford

If you would like to comment, contact us at director@downtownmilford.org or 302-839-1180.

Yours in service,

Downtown Milford, Inc. Board of Directors

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