Milford Borough continues to explore the idea of installing a bandshell for musical performances somewhere in the borough.
The conversation on Tuesday night was hosted by Borough Councilman Luke Turano and Mike Zimmerman, a member of the Milford Borough Recreation Committee and Music in the Park Coordinator.
Initial conversations centered around Ann Street Park, which drew a strong rebuke from area residents. But other options brought to the table included the outside of the Community House, the Milford Theatre, which was recently purchased, and the Santos Farm outside the borough on Route 29.
Pike County Commissioner Matthew Osterberg, who was speaking as Community House Board President, said the board has been renovating the property since the library left.
The next phase of the renovation is to build an outside structure that will serve two purposes. The first is to be a public restroom, and the other is a performance area in front of the building.
“Our vision is that the building would be used on the weekends in the summertime for people to put on performances, whether it’s music or theatrical,” Osterberg said. “I wanted to make sure people knew what we were doing there.”
Osterberg said the committee is also looking to put in a state-of-the-art sound system so the music can be heard all over the property.
“I think that can fit into the whole component of what you’re talking about,” Osterberg said.
Mayor Sean Strub, who moderated the discussion, said he thinks having the borough as a center for the arts can help spur economic development and he said it can be done in small and large ways. He also said there’s been some early talk about creating performance facility on the Santos Farm, outside the borough.
‘All the music you could ever want’
Ann Street resident Eugene Murphy said Milford is a “great place for all the music you could ever want.”
He said Santos Farm was a brilliant idea, but like many of the residents on Ann Street, is against the idea of a bandshell in the Ann Street Park.
“I understand benefiting the businesses, but I don’t see this benefitting the people in the town directly, more than it inconveniences,” he said. “The people around the park are already miserable because some of the noise from regular music festivals.”
Strub said the bandshell idea was driven by artists and he reference Pike County Days, which brought in carnival-like atmosphere to the Ann Street Park and disturbed the residents.
“I know that memory remains fresh for a number of people,” he said.
Zimmerman said he was concerned that residents think they want a venue that would draw thousands of people.
“I would never advocate for something like that,” he said. “I’m thinking something smaller and community-based to support local and regional performing artists.”
Maryanne Monte of the Milford Enhancement Committee suggested waiting to see if Community House, Milford Theatre, or Santos Farm come to fruition.
“Maybe you should see if one of those three comes to maturity in before the borough jumps in,” she said.
Murphy suggested abandoning the Ann Street Park idea.
“My concern is that this is already cooked into the books and there’s a lot of people that feel that,” he said.
Zimmerman stressed that nothing is decided, and that this is just an idea.
“Our vision is that the building would be used on the weekends in the summertime for people to put on performances, whether it’s music or theatrical. I wanted to make sure people knew what we were doing there.” Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg