Guest Commentary: Innovation will drive future success in Milford
The success of Milford has been celebrated across the state and region as news of the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus, with the new Bayhealth Hospital and the Nemours du-Pont Pediatrics and Nemours Senior Care facility, and the Nationwide Healthcare Services Wellness Village set the foundation for a growing economy in Southern Delaware. The expansion of the local workforce and hundreds of millions of dollars from private and public investments are noted in Delaware headlines, but the community’s ability to focus on entrepreneurial innovation has become the true story behind what is driving our town and will forge our future.
The $315 million Bayhealth hospital is an impressive feat of engineering but the innovative thinking behind the creation of the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus is the catalyst that will help Milford become a regional player in the ever-growing healthcare industry. Preparing the future of healthcare for the next 50 to 100 years, the campus will become home to a second leading player in healthcare this year, Nemours du-Pont Pediatrics and Nemours Senior Care. Their 35,000 square feet location will offer specialty services such as neurology, endocrinology, allergy, orthopedics, physical and speech therapy, radiology and MRI. No longer will families in Southern Delaware have to travel over an hour for specialized care for their children. Reimagining the current Bayhealth hospital on Clark Avenue, Nationwide Healthcare Services will take over in 2019 to repurpose the site into a new skilled nursing and postop rehabilitation center. The company is calling for 200+ full-time jobs to be brought to the area during the first year with more to come as the campus evolves through the expansion of ancillary services.
Infusing the entrepreneurial spirit into the public sector, the City of Milford has been able to challenge the status quo, lowering electric rates, rehabilitating major roadways including Airport Road and restructuring our City Charter to improve delinquent tax collection services. In an effort to encourage ingenuity within, the City has met major challenges as opportunities. Ever conscience of our responsibility to our tax payers, we practice fiscal policy through resourcefulness, strategically planning across departments and into the future. Prioritizing the rehabilitation city-owned roads, the City of Milford is in the process of finalizing a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan that will be used to meet our growing transportation needs. These strategic efforts will be done in coordination with planned repair or replacement of underground water, wastewater or storm water lines. This effort will save the City time and the taxpayers money as the same roads will not be ripped up multiple times to address different concerns.
As more investors choose Milford as their home, the City of Milford must have a strategic plan, shaped by its residents, to drive our future. In planning our future, the most critical component is public participation and input. The City of Milford is committed to increasing the opportunities for our residents to have an impact on decisions made by their local government. City leadership conducted a resident survey during the summer and held 22 Community Conversations with the public over the last two months to help create a 5-year Strategic Plan that will be used as guide for growth, both from a policy standpoint and financial planning. Public input is the key component to meeting the opportunities ahead and is necessary to ensure that residents guide the future of Milford. Public private partnerships that celebrate and encourage entrepreneurial innovation will forge our future as a dominant player in Sussex County and the state of Delaware.