Milford is in the middle of a renaissance.
The most notable change is Bayhealth’s new medical campus. The $300 million project will open in 2019, bringing with it good-paying jobs. These individuals and their families will spur growth for new and expanding retail and tourism related businesses.
“We are looking for places we can put public investment where private investment will follow ten-fold,” Mayor Bryan Shupe said.
The city is offering incentives to businesses looking to expand into the downtown and other parts of Milford. The incentives include many various permit and fee waivers, property tax abatements, real estate transfer tax abatements and much more. Milford recently adopted ordinances that allow it to create Specific Economic Development Incentive Programs for target areas in the city.
“These incentives, paired with the rebates and other assistance provide by the state, decrease the financial risk for potential developers and make it more attractive to invest in new development or redevelopment projects in the downtown area,” said Shupe.
Mayor Shupe noted Milford is one of the fastest growing towns in the state. It had a population of 6,700 in 2000. That number has grown to about 9,000 – primarily retired and pre-retired people relocating from nearby states for the low taxes, affordable housing and access to the beach and major highways like DE 1 and US 113. He encouraged entrepreneurs to take advantage of all that growth by reaching out to City Hall to discuss opportunities. He said the whole city, especially the downtown, is open for business.
The city’s goal is to turn the downtown area into a go-to destination for businesses, residents and visitors. In the past few months the area has added an upscale home furnishing store and women’s clothing boutique. An historic bank building will soon become a casual restaurant. Moreover, there has been renewed focus on the Mispillion Riverwalk as a pedestrian and bicycle pathway. Milford is also reevaluating the housing options and housing stock in the downtown.
The city has been working with the Delaware Tourism Office and the University of Delaware to conduct a tourism feasibility study. The study seeks to answer many questions: Who is coming to Milford? Who isn’t? Why? What might attract more visitors?
Shupe said the empirical data from the study are extremely important, because they help create a sense of where to put public dollars.
With Milford primed for even more growth, this is the time for businesses to start or expand in the city. Contact city leaders now for more information on incentives and opportunities.