The Milford Historical Preservation Group, a concept that started with a couple local residents, is trying to gain members through its online group, and hopes to recruit history lovers to help preserve Milford's historical buildings.
A local Milford resident is looking to drum up support for Milford’s historical districts through the formation of the Milford Historical Preservation Group.
Founding member Patti Persia, whose original partner found that she didn’t have the time to dedicate to the group, said the idea started with only two people working with DMI members to generate ideas about fundraising, possible grants for people interested in purchasing historical buildings, assistance for homeowners who can’t afford historical renovations and ultimately establishing a local historical district ordinance.
“Right now, we’re just working on getting the word out,” Persia said. “Eventually we will come to council with our ordinance, but we’re not rushing it. We want to make people understand that the ultimate goal has everyone in mind.”
Recently, the Milford Historical Preservation Group formed a Facebook group, hoping to create an online presence to recruit members.
The group, which originally started with two local women with an interest in preserving historical buildings throughout Milford, started discussing ideas with other interested residents and Downtown Milford, Inc’s design committee in November 2013, according to Milly Pederson, who is on board with Persia’s plan.
“There is much work to do in order to preserve and appreciate these buildings and neighborhoods, and the MHPG hopes to be a catalyst for that preservation to happen,” Pederson said.
In addition to working with DMI, Persia and Pederson are also working with the Milford Museum and its director Claudia Leister to compile photographs of historical buildings throughout the town, including the ones that have already been lost.
Persia said they also hope to work with the Milford Historical Society in the near future, but it’s all about generating interest and support from local residents who want to become actively involved in preserving the history of Milford’s houses and downtown storefronts.
“In my opinion, Milford is a beautiful old town and I would hate to lose some of that history,” Persia said. “We want to put preservation on the forefront so people realize that if we don’t actively work to save it, we’re going to lose it.”
Milford resident and property owner Dan Bond explained the idea of establishing a local historical district has been in the works for at least five years, but the support and logistics have not been strong enough to present the ordinance to council for implementation.
However, without a local historical district ordinance, regardless of recognition by the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, property owners can do as they please with historical buildings if it does not interfere with state regulations, and only have to adhere to National Register standards if they want to apply for tax rebates.
Bond, who owns 10 historical properties along N.W. Front Street, said he has worked to keep the historical appearance of the buildings at a relative cost to any construction work because of the historical rehabilitation tax credits.
“Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but that’s been my major intent – preserving the buildings and keeping them in use,” Bond said. “I like the way [historical buildings] look, I like the historical district appearance and I like the stories that are connected to them, but it’s also useful to keep buildings in use. All of my buildings are in use as residential or commercial, and it’s not just about the sake of keeping the buildings, but that a lot of these old historical buildings are much better built than modern buildings.”
With more than 200 properties recognized on the National Register, and three historical districts that could be protected by one local ordinance, Bond said the most important role for the Milford Historical Preservation Group is to gain support and to educate the public regarding how an ordinance can preserve some of Milford’s history.
“I’m very happy to see them work on this,” Bond said. “It’s up to your local community to provide protection for buildings through local ordinances. If we had this ordinance, then tearing a building down would be the last resort.”
The group will be holding its first public meeting, “Coffee & Conversation” at the Milford Museum on April 29 from 6 to 7:15 p.m.