April showers bring rain barrels, native plants and more to Millville

This May, the nearly new, modern Millville town hall, with its earthy monochromatic color scheme and plush green grass will soon look a little different. A little more… natural.

Coastal Point • Monica Fleming: Native plantings outside the Millville Town Hall include River birch, dogwoods, switchgrass and inkberry.Coastal Point • Monica Fleming
Native plantings outside the Millville Town Hall include River birch, dogwoods, switchgrass and inkberry.

As people in the watershed of the Inland Bays are growing in their understanding of the importance of natural habitats and restoring natural vegetation in protecting water quality and promoting environmental stewardship, local municipalities are catching on to the trend too, becoming forward-thinkers and valuable resources with the hopes that their residents take notice and follow suit.

Soon, outside Millville’s town hall, a walkway of stones will extend from the current ramp around the building and along the tax ditch and out around the side of the building. A native habitat will be planted in the tax ditch in the hope of bringing native vegetation and species.

A rain garden will be planted on either side of the walkable stones, and there will be rain barrels to collect rain for drip irrigation for the plants. And, in the hopes of educating the townspeople, there will be signage naming everything and more information available inside Town Hall.

Pointing to the bike rack out front, Mayor Donald Minyon said, “People who stop by town hall for a break can come in and learn more about it.”

It’s all part of the “Clean and Green” initiative that Millville residents will be hearing more and more about as spring gets under way.

“DNREC supplied the funds and the Center for Inland Bays will install it,” said Minyon of the project at town hall. It will be started May 6, with the hopes of completion that day or the next.

Inside, they will be making changes, too. They currently have bids to change all the lighting to compact-fluorescent bulbs and have already changed the outside lighting on the north side of the building.

In addition to changing the lighting and providing the native plant/rain gardening resource information, Minyon said he hopes to sit down with their cleaning crew to go over what types of non-toxic products they might start to use so as to be in line with the “clean and green” initiative of the town.

Around town, ‘clean and green’ will be implemented as well. The town is starting a pilot program of curbside recycling with DSWA, at no extra charge for residents, this year. All townspeople have to do is sign up, and the form to do so is even available for download online at www.millvillede.us. (Click forms and applications/recycle enrollment form).

The town is also in the process of picking a single trash hauler for more efficient and safer trash pick-up.

“On my street there are 14 houses,” said Minyon. “And there are four different trash haulers. That’s four different big trucks coming in and four different days garbage is sitting outside somebody’s house. Number one, it’s a safety issue, especially with kids out of school, and, number two, it’s hard on the roads.”

For this, they are currently getting bids from different haulers and plan to then send a letter out to residents to pick by popular selection. Residents will be billed at home.

They are also having a spring Dumpster day on May 21, where residents can bring everything they’d like to discard, except chemicals — including appliances (without Freon). Hot dogs and drinks will be available at town hall during the event.

And although, as a town, Millville is not responsible for the nearby former recycling drop-off center, Minyon recognizes its important to both the people of Millville and the surrounding communities. He said they are trying to work out a suitable location so a center will once again be available and convenient for area residents.

“My two major ambitions in my humble service to the town are the Clean and Green Initiative and the Streetscape,” said Minyon.

“Our town is dissected by Route 26, and we are a community of separate subdivisions with people moving in from everywhere. I’d like to make the town more walkable to really connect the residential to the commercial — to make it a more united community.”

Minyon said that idea fits in the “green” part of his agenda, as does the Streetscape project, because it will eventually take more cars off the road. His long-term goals are for the town to have sidewalks and crosswalks, and eventually to have bike trails and to be able to connect to Bethany Beach without the need to drive a motorized vehicle down the road.