Ann Street residents voiced their objections to an idea floated in November about erecting a bandshell in Milford Park.
Several residents, in a letter written to the Milford Borough Council, said trouble with Zoom during the November borough council meeting, which prevented their being able to respond, violated their first amendment rights. The letter said many of the houses are within 20 feet of a possible bandshell and that residents have a right to their tranquility.
Residents were also concerned that the noise would travel beyond the park. Ann Street Park already has a gazebo used by Music in the Park on Sundays in the summer. They referred to the bandshell idea as a “destructive development” to the park.
At the Dec. 15 council meeting, Councilman Joe Dooley said the bandshell was just an idea that was being discussed. The next step would be to reach out to the community to get opinions, he said.
“It was an idea that came up” in the Parks and Recreation Committee,” Councilman Luke Turano said.
Residents also accused Turano of referring to the area as a “mud pit.”
“I believe I said the grass was growing where a typical ballfield is,” Turano said. “I said it’s all grown in. You see me and my children almost every day there. When the parks did open, I was there with my children.”
Resident Eugene Murphy said most of what he sees always benefits just the businesses. For a time the park’s basketball court was closed because of litter until it was opened because kids needed a place to play, he said. “To take another area of the park where the kids need to play and run around and that would restrict them to a small corner, that doesn’t seem to be a benefit,” he said.
Murphy said when the park hosted “Opera in the Park,” he received a knock on the door asking that they not mow their lawns or use the leaf blower during the performance. Stevens said she received a note asking the same thing.
“We appreciate that, and we would appreciate the same consideration,” Stevens said. “Amplified music is extremely loud.”
She also asked who would benefit from a bandshell.
“it doesn’t benefit the local residents,” Stevens said. “It might benefit the commercial district, which I think is pushing for this.”
Turano said there was no hidden agenda, and the next step was to go to the community. He pointed to the borough’s upcoming master plan discussions and welcomes a plan where parks would be developed or renovated at once, as opposed to being done in a piecemeal fashion, which results in parks that don’t look like they match.
“I gain nothing from it,” he said. “I don’t play an instrument. I’m not part of a band. I don’t see where the commercial drive would come from, but I do see value in pumping the breaks a little bit and having it part of a conversation of a master plan that prevents the one-offs and these Dr. Seuess-ish parks.”