Milton’s Economic Development Committee, which seeks to help increase tourism and visibility for downtown Milton, has been busy lately, as it plans the future of a public art program, works on a new branding initiative and becomes an affiliate of the national Main Street program.
In June, the committee, chaired by Councilwoman Annette Babich, will present a plan to town council to relocate the current “Greetings” mural project in Mill Park to town-owned land along the Rails to Trails and other parts of town, Babich said.
The murals are scheduled to be on display at Mill Park until the end of June, but Babich said they could be moved in mid- to late June, which would make way for the next piece in the public art series, created by Milton artist Allen Sangree.
Babich said the display will be called “Gather Round” and will feature a series of faux bois chairs.
“Faux bois means fake wood and refers to the art of creating an object that looks like they are wood but are made from concrete,” Babich said. “Allen has made some truly amazing chairs that look like they’re made from tree branches and planks, but are really made from concrete. The detail is unbelievable.”
“Gather Round” will be a reference to the chairs pulled into a conversational arc opposite the John Milton statue in Mill Park and the benches that accompany it. The display is planned for unveiling Friday, June 30, and will be up through the fall.
“The goal is to have the people of Milton gather round to connect and to participate in activities that unite the community and celebrate all the things that make Milton and its residents special and unique,” Babich said.
The committee is also working on a new marketing tagline for the town. Barry Goodinson, the committee member coordinating the project, said 12 firms submitted proposals to create the new tagline, with Lewes-based Hook PR getting the job.
The committee met with Hook May 15 to lay out the schedule and rollout for the new tagline. That schedule includes Hook conducting a limited number of in-person interviews, a formal digital survey of town residents and business owners, an informal social media survey of town visitors and tourists, and research into the practices of other popular municipalities, a process Goodinson expects to last six to eight weeks.
Following the research phase, Hook will present 10 tagline options to the committee for consideration. Goodinson said the committee will choose three for further development into a visual mark, then hold a focus group with town residents and business leaders for feedback. Hook will then refine and finalize the tagline and mark.
Goodinson said that work will also take six to eight weeks. He said the whole process should be completed right after Labor Day.
The committee plans to brand its new tagline and mark through the state-run Delaware on Main and the national Main Street program, of which the committee was recently awarded certification as an affiliate.
Gloria Garcia, the committee’s point person with Main Street, said, “The Main Street program will be the vehicle to promote the outcome of the branding project, hopefully with downtown street light banners and signage, among other things. When people visit our downtown main street, the town of Milton brand will be visible in physical elements.”
Garcia said being an affiliate is the first step to becoming a fully accredited Main Street member.
“The main street program consists of four pillars that have been proven successful for more than four decades: organization, economic development/vitality, design and promotion/events. The [committee’s] work reflects these pillars as we have organized around economic development and are focusing on art projects that promote Milton and attract foot traffic,” Garcia said.