Slow but sure

Those who remember when the Main Street Program came to Milford will recall that the organizers kept using the word incremental – meaning that changes to the tired Milford downtown would come slowly and build upon one another. One small good thing will bring another another small good thing, and there will be progress.

That seems to be what happened.

First, Main Street brought attractive lamp posts, traffic islands and brick sidewalks, then Cafe On the Oval was renovated. Then there were bigger changes, like the South Street widening and renovation. Over the past few years, the momentum picked up.

A group of young people opened Union Coffee. Then came a tapas restaurant and a chowder shop. On the site of the dilapidated Boston Shoe Store a new enterprise is going up, with a restaurant deck that will overlook the Oval.

Earlier this month a sophisticated restaurant opened in the old Souhegan National Bank building. A small brewery is planned for the old Bravo Pizza site and the Payless Towing garage may become a beer pub.

What a change from the late 1980s when the Cabinet ran a story about how empty the Milford Oval was after dark.

It was just around then that volunteers started organizing and a Main Street Program got underway.

But we shouldn’t forget that before there was Main Street, there was THARC – the Town Hall Auditorium Restoration Committee – and before that were residents who fought an ill-conceived attempt to sell the historic town hall and move town offices to Route 13.

Milford’s downtown has become an eating and drinking hub. These may not be the changes that early volunteers like Marilyn Kenison, Patty Rotch had envisioned, they are the result of their work and the work of countless other volunteers who love their town.