Milford Community House has a renewed purpose

A 200-year-old building must be renovated before its planned transformation to community center and economic development office

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  • Milford Community House has had several past lives and is about to get a new one (Photo by Anya Tikka)

  • Pike County Commissioners Chair Matt Osterberg (Photo by Anya Tikka)

By Anya Tikka

— The Milford Community House will open as half community center, half economic development office, as soon as the necessary renovations are completed.

In a recent meeting, Pike County Commissioners Chair Matt Osterberg said the 200-year old building once housed the Pinchot family and the first Dimmick Inn. More recently, it was the home of the Pike County Public Library.

The Pinchot family, when it donated the building to the community, stipulated community use as a condition.

Once finished, the building will have in a partnership a community center side, and an economic activity side, including an extensive new visitor center on the ground floor. Chris Barrett and Keith Williams from the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau said the visitors center would remain open seven days a week, seasonally, and possibly for major holidays and festivities, like Christmas and the Winter Lights in February.

“We are going to be sharing in the expenses of the building," Osterberg said of the groups that move in.

Looking at the building from the Dimmick Inn side: the right side will include the United Way, the Pike County Economic Development Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce. The left side will include the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau on the first floor open space, while the second floor will be wide open office space for organizations like the Lions Club, The Greater Pike Foundation, and the Milford Garden Club

The interior will include displays, vivid photos of the area's lakes, mountains, trails, waterfalls, and history. Outside, expansion of the parking lot is in the plans.

'A great partnership'Commissioner Steve Guccini congratulated Barrett.

“Chris has been here a couple of months," Guccini said. "He has been very good communication with the county, especially with possible sources of funds and grants that has always been an issue. Hotels etc bring people to the area. I want to thank Chris.”

Osterberg called it "a great partnership opportunity that has been lacking in this part of the county.”

He stressed that the Visitors Bureau will highlight not only Milford, but the entire county, and will serve as a stopover for people traveling on I-84 to Pittsburgh and other areas west, where they can learn about what this area has to offer.

The building is overseen by the Community House Board made up of a small number of individuals to serve and to protect the building, of which Osterberg is the chair. He also sits on the Chamber of Commerce and The Economic Development Authority.

“So I was able to bring everybody together,” Osterberg said with a smile.

He said the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau had always wanted to bring a visitors center to Milford.

“They can be a really great use for the building seven days a week," he said. "They are in the marketing business. They are going to help up put up displays, to tell the story of Pike County, and it will be a great advantage to the entire community."

However, the building is in need of major renovations, and fundraisers are planned to pay for them.

“It takes a lot of money,” Osterberg said.

Then he added confidently, and with a smile, “By February, we’ll be done."

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