MILFORD BOROUGH, NJ (Hunterdon County) – The Hunterdon County Freeholders’ Economic Development sites tour continued last week when Freeholder Board Director Shaun Van Doren and Freeholder Matt Holt gained a first-hand update from Milford Mayor Henri Schepens on economic and tourism projects moving forward in the riverfront borough.
Van Doren, Holt and Mayor Schepens, joined by County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk, walked the site of the future county riverfront park, which anticipates a connecting trail way to Frenchtown, and discussed how the project fit into Milford’s larger development plans, as well as discussing the Boroughs’ plans to utilize a recently awarded county economic development grant.
“Milford is ideally positioned for the tourism initiative. The proposed park will provide a beautiful place for residents and tourists alike to relax along the Delaware, while enjoying one of our charming river towns,” Van Doren said. “And the connecting trail to Frenchtown will make it easy to explore yet another Hunterdon community.”
The Hunterdon County Freeholder Board approved a contract to purchase the 6.2-acre site in June. When the sale is completed, the park would stretch along the river south from Bridge Street. Van Doren added that the county is funding the project through the open space trust fund.
The Freeholders’ economic development sites tour is highlighting projects funded through the county economic development municipal grant program and agri-tourism locations along the new Hunterdon 579 Trail. A previous stop on the tour was the Old Salem Vineyards in Alexandria, part of the 579 Trail.
“The Milford project is the epitome of the county’s economic development initiative. It represents an investment in one of our communities and combines elements of tourism, open space, and economic development in a single project,” said Holt, the Board’s Economic Development liaison.
Mayor Schepens also walked the Freeholders through the towns’ main business district, highlighting the lack of vacancies and discussing how local business has successfully adapted this year to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schepens detailed the town’s plans to use a recent county economic development grant to work with planners to review local ordinances and procedures, in an effort to implement changes designed to encourage business growth. A portion of the grant will also be utilized to expand the Bridge Street business district out along Water Street to the Milford Borough Hall.
Mayor Schepens also discussed the recently completed clean-up of the former Curtis Paper Mill site, noting that there are already developers interested in the site and that it may be on the market soon after years of EPA-mandated environmental work by International Paper and Georgia Pacific.
“The borough is making a substantial effort to encourage investment and grow the local economy,” Holt said. “And the county will continue to partner with them on this effort in every way that we can.”
“Milford has been successfully rebuilding for several years now,” Schepens said. “We appreciate the county partnering with us to capitalize on this momentum.”