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Milford revitalizing project gets $55K boost

Union Leader Correspondent

June 11. 2013 7:31PM

MILFORD — Planning for the town’s future just got a bit easier thanks to two grants valued at more than $55,000 received by the Milford Improvement Team.

The first of the grants, from an organization called Plan NH, will help the town look for ways to better tie the neighborhoods around Garden and Cottage streets to the downtown area. Through Plan NH’s Community Design Charrette, experts in planning will meet with members of the public, town officials, business owners and other stakeholders to determine the needs of the community.

“The charrette will provide the town with a valuable blueprint and ideas for revitalizing a neighborhood that was once hugely significant to Milford as the location of the Garden Street School and B&M Railroad that was Milford’s link to the world,” said Alan Woolfson, president of the board of the Milford Improvement Team.

Wolfson said the Milford Downtown Ongoing Improvement team, the predecessor to the Milford Improvement Team, focused primarily on the Milford Oval and the downtown area for nearly 20 years, seeking grants for everything from signage and lighting to sidewalks. But now the focus of the team has been broadened to include more of the community for planning and improvement. The charrette grant is one of the steps towards widening the team’s reach.

During a weekend in November, there will be two community “visioning sessions” that will allow the team of architects, builders, planners and various other planning professionals to receive input for the charrette, according to Tracy Hutchins, executive director of the Milford Improvement Team.

From there, the professional planners will hunker down and come up with ideas for making the Milford Oval and the surrounding neighborhoods more interconnected and pedestrian-friendly, said Hutchins. This information will be used to update the town’s master plan.

Hutchins said Milford is lucky to have been selected for the Plan NH grant, which carries a value of nearly $50,000 and is only awarded to two or three communities each year following a competitive application process.

While the services and expertise of the professional planners who will work on the charrette are donated as part of the grant, there are costs for running the three-day event. But a $5,000 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation will offset some of those costs, along with funds raised through the Taste of Milford and Milford Pumpkin Festival will cover the expenses related to the charrette, said Hutchins.

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