Gerken, a Milford High School graduate, said she is looking forward to continuing flagship events, such as the Bug and Bud Festival and the Farmers Market, and working with local business owners and the City of Milford.

The Board of Directors of Downtown Milford, Inc. has named Milford resident and 2005 Milford High School graduate Patricia (Trish) Gerken as its new executive director, effective Sept. 23.

Gerken joins Downtown Milford, Inc. with over five years of experience in the non-profit and public sectors. Most recently, she served as site supervisor of Buena Vista in New Castle, a nationally registered historic site, where former U.S. Secretary of State John Clayton and Delaware Gov. Douglass Buck resided. Prior to that, she coordinated marketing, event and retail planning for the Delaware State Parks and served as volunteer coordinator at the Delaware Agriculture Museum and Village.

"With a passion for historic preservation, several years of successful event and programming oversight, and experience in volunteer management, grant writing, marketing and social media, Gerken comes to DMI with the qualifications and energy needed to move the organization and Downtown Milford forward," said the board of directors in a press release Thursday.

Murrie Zlotziver, DMI’s previous executive director, resigned in May and Causey Mansion Bed & Breakfast owner, Joe Phillips, filled in as interim executive director. The DMI board members expressed their gratitude for Phillips’ service to the downtown.

“We are excited to have someone of Trish’s experience and enthusiasm to bring a new perspective to DMI and our mission of promoting and advancing Milford’s Downtown,” said Peggy Reilly, president of the DMI Board of Directors.

Gerken’s primary responsibilities will be to advocate for and build awareness of DMI’s goals and activities, and to work closely with all of DMI’s many partners and stakeholders to build upon the civic, commercial, and cultural development of Milford’s Downtown. She will be in training within her first week and will be working with volunteers to recap the Largest Celebration of Women in Music, the second annual Milford Ladybug Music Festival, happening downtown Saturday, Sept. 21.

"I am very excited for the opportunity to work for DMI," said Gerken. "Milford has so much to offer -- rich in history, eclectic art and a beautiful Riverwalk. It’s no surprise Milford was named 2018 Village of the Year."

She said she is looking forward to continuing flagship events, such as the Bug and Bud Festival and the Farmers Market, and working with local business owners and the City of Milford to continue to make the downtown area an inviting, fun and thriving place for everyone.

Gerken can be reached at or at 302-839-1180 or by visiting the DMI office at 207 S. Walnut St.

For information about DMI and the group's support for independent community businesses, call 302-839-1180 or visit

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Downtown Milford, Inc. is a dynamic multi-faceted economic development organization that serves as positive force in the community. The group works with business and property owners to beautify, revitalize, protect, preserve and promote the historic riverside district. DMI operates as 501c3 nonprofit organization and is accredited through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Downtown Delaware Program.