The metamorphosis of Millville continues.
Town leaders are pushing hard in an effort to secure transportation enhancement funds to undertake a Streetscape project around the Millville Town Center area. Though the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) recently announced that funding for the planned Route 26 improvement project is not currently available, and probably won’t be until 2011, town officials are trying to get an early start on their own beautification project.
“This is a really nice place,” said Millville Mayor Donald Minyon. “What we want to do is really make the Town Center area stand out as being uniquely ‘Millville,’ and also allow that area to be enjoyed as a safe place for people to walk around.”
Part of the plan involves stamped brick crosswalks at the intersection of Old Mill Road and Route 26 — the intersection that includes Banks Wines & Spirits on one corner, and the entrance to Food Lion across the street. Minyon said he saw families pushing strollers across that intersection last summer and feared for people’s safety.
The Streetscape proposal also calls for sidewalks and curbs along the road, along with a small planting area between the curbs and sidewalks to provide a bigger layer of safety for pedestrians, as well as improve the general aesthetic feel of the town. The plan was put together by the town’s engineering firm, URS, and was developed through a partnership of ideas between the firm and town officials.
“Generally speaking, the streetscape consists of all elements between the face of the curb and other improvements that exist along the roadway corridor,” explained URS in their Millville-Atlantic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Pattern Book. “Frequently, the design of the roadway cross section will have a critical influence on the comfort, safety and appearance of the streetscape. If streetscapes are comfortable and safe for people, then pedestrian activity along those streets will increase.
“The best streetscape designs provide unity to each individual district within the town by using consistent, formal arrangements of elements that help create a character that is unique to that district. Though similar materials and elements should be prevalent to each district, every district — with its own unique sense of place — will contribute to the overall image of Millville.”
The plan also includes increased lighting around the Town Center, a working “mill” (with waterwheel and storage structure) and welcome sign at the eastern entrance to Millville and a clock at the northeast corner of Old Mill Road and Route 26. The clock will “enrich citizens with civic pride and enable them to identify this element as part of their town,” said URS in the proposal.
The timetable for this project is uncertain, largely because it relies on the town being able to secure transportation enhancement funds. Minyon said the town is moving forward on those efforts and that he would like to see the project get started “sometime after Labor Day.”
“This will help give Millville its own identity,” said Minyon. “When people drive through our town, they’ll know they’re in Millville, and they’ll know it’s a beautiful place.”