Skating Center Closing?

We have been hearing rumors for three months now.  We have tried to get answers…well we can now confirm 6 months later…we may close due to the City of Milford’s appetite for change.  I guess since they can’t attract new businesses for residents to work and live in the same city, they are trying to keep one business downtown at the expense of the Milford Skating Center.  Will they reconsider?  Not sure…can you help us, definitely.

Here are the facts as we have been told by our building owner:

  • Who is part of the discussion
    •  City of Milford, City Manager Eric Norenberg
    • City of Milford, Mayor Bryan Shupe
    • Downtown Milford, Executive Director Lee Nelson
    • Marvel Agency, Randy Marvel
    • Silicato Development, Dennis Silicato
    • Davis Bowen & Friedel
      • Delaware Music School
  • Who is NOT part of the discussion
    • Carmen Kemper, Owner Milford Skating Center
  • What’s at Stake
    • MILFORD SKATING CENTER
      • REMOVING a downtown icon, 30 year minority-owned family business
      • REMOVING a family-friendly entertainment AND recreation choice from the city (one of only two family choices)
      • REMOVING job opportunities for young adults
      • REMOVING fundraising opportunities for school groups, civic groups, and more
      • REMOVING a reward from up to 5 school districts
      • REMOVING an autistic child’s safe haven and educational experience for group interaction and social skills
      • REMOVING a home for a well respected roller derby club that has attracted attendees and teams from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey
      • REMOVING the livelihood of a Milford Family
      • REMOVING a safe place for parents to leave their children so they may frequent Milford restaurants and entertainment venues
      • REMOVING a social experience for children not playing other sports, or those that cannot afford traveling team sports
      • REMOVING a business that has supported this community for more than thirty years through various donations AND the Milford Community Parade (which thousands of dollars have been raised through the years at fundraisers at the rink and pre and post meeting site for committee)
      • REMOVING a business that opens its door for every community downtown event and provides free admission for all to enjoy…who else in this equation has opened their doors for vendors and visitors to use the restrooms during these events?
    • DAVIS BOWEN & FREDIEL
      • overcrowded in their current location which is adjoined in same building as the skating center, so much they have leased space across Walnut Street
      • want to expand into rink space to keep all staff in one location and not separated by a road
      • staff frequents local restaurants with clientele
  • What’s the question?
    • Does SKATING MATTER, yes, SKATING MATTERS
      • We want Davis Bowen and Friedel to stay in town, BUT NOT AT THE SKATING CENTER’S EXPENSE
      • We want Downtown Milford to succeed, we are proof a business can thrive downtown.
    • Which is easier to move?  Office space or a skating center? OFFICE SPACE
      • MILFORD SKATING CENTER is a “Mom & Pop” business, one location.
      • Davis Bowen & Friedel has offices in Milford AND Salisbury, in fact Silicato Development just renovated office space, DBF just moved into with their main office and advertised they had additional space available in the building for third parties to lease.
    • Why is the City pushing?
      • DBF performs most services to the City of Milford, which translating is the City pays for DBF for their services on a regular basis?
      • DBF wants their offices in one location or they are leaving Downtown?
      • The building owner won’t do anything to the building unless he receives help?
  • What is the solution?
    • City of Milford works with current owner of the vacant fire hall on Church Avenue to move Davis Bowen and Friedel into office space previously used by the state for social / family services
    • City of Milford assists the owner of the building currently housing the Milford Skating Center to give it a more modern look.
  • WHAT CAN YOU DO?
    • Do you know any of the parties involved?
      • ask them to reconsider and that SKATING MATTERS, after all if the skating center is forced to move, Milford will only have one choice for family entertainment weekly and that is the bowling lanes, a fine establishment…but not everyone bowls every weekend.
      • ask them why would they sacrifice a thriving minority owned business for another professional business
      • ask them if Downtown Milford is part of the National and Delaware Mainstreet Program, how does creating more office space improve the entertainment value of downtown…how many restaurant bars are there?
      • ask them why they would REMOVE a business that keeps children off the streets, and provides a quality of life factor to the city neither Davis, Bowen and Friedel or the Delaware Music School can provide on a weekly basis

Speak up SKATING MATTERS, this skating center may be the only one in the country located in a Downtown area and once it is gone it is gone.

SKATING MATTERS, to Milford’s families AND all over Sussex and Kent County.  Here are a few of the groups that have frequented the Milford Skating Center.  Why reading, remember each person/family visiting is coming from somewhere…not just Milford; but, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and beyond. Each bring their dollars into downtown, and each has a potential for searching outside the rink doors and experiencing downtown Milford:

  • Milford/Lake Forest/Cape Henlopen/Woodbridge School Districts
  • After school skating program students from 3 Milford elementary schools weekly
  • Roller Derby – Southern Delaware Roller Girls
  • Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts
  • Service Organizations such as Autism, Relay For Life, Diabetes Association
  • Daycares all over Sussex and Kent Counties
  • Exercise and Zumba enthusiasts
  • Ball Room Dancers
  • Senior Citizens for Dry Strides
  • Positive behavior programs for students
  • District PTO/PTA/PTP associations

SKATING MATTERS, their intentions may have been originally for good cause; however, with common sense, someone has to speak up and make our leaders aware that Milford Skating Center Matters and it should not be closed.

What will they say…(possible responses)

“its business, don’t take it personally”, –you are closing a business down, that’s personal when it is someone livelihood

“Their lease was up and we decided not to renew”, —a lease that had a five year renewal option

“we gave them plenty of time to find a new place”,—a phone call received on Friday, June 17, and a lease that runs out June 30, 2016….after receiving first notice from skating center wanting to renew in November 2015, followed by a mailed letter of request January 2016. That is no time at all.

“We didn’t tell them they would be out June 30th”, —that is correct, but will be operating without a secure lease and were told the City may not have the money until October for renovations, also heard that DBF was going to break through the wall after July Fourth holiday.

“Our concern is with DBF, not the Milford Skating Center”,—30 years the Downtown Milford Skating Center has served families of all ages, sizes and ethnic backgrounds with a venue that was safe, economical for all, and been apart of the community.  It should not be which business is more valuable, it should be how do we make room for both.

“DBF is already in part of the building so we shouldn’t make them move”, —really, re locate to the fire hall building and string your lights across the street where you also have a bakery, cooking school and more parking close by.

I think the most disappointing aspect of this whole thing is that SKATING MATTERS, the little gal is getting squashed because of a city’s desire for change, a Mayor’s desire to make a name for himself at anyone’s expense…by the way, did you know the Mayor leases business space from Silicato Development and has his own blog paper to focus his message on what he wants to see change?  The owner of the skating center was not included in the discussions because they knew she would not approve.  Also, the City received monies from the state to have a consultant come in and present the idea of change to the public and referred to the skating center as a blue box…it is called building consensus in the community of something they wouldn’t want to do but the city wants to do anyway.

Please use #SKATING MATTERS  with your responses on social media.  Use your page, your account to get the word out that this action needs to be reconsidered and the Milford Skating Center needs to be saved…SKATINGMATTERS! Do it now, time is not on our side.  We don’t want to leave Downtown!

 

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