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An open letter to Pike County Commissioners

July 23, 2014

The Black Bear Film Festival, a 501©3 not-for-profit cultural organization, urges the Pike County Commissioners to rethink their proposed plan for expansion of the court facilities. The certain degradation of Milford’s National Historic District that will result from the demolition of either three or four buildings in that district, as well as the very serious risk of damage to the viability of Milford’s central business district, property values and future investment in the borough is more than enough for responsible citizens to step back and reconsider the plan.

We are an amazing community that has come together time and time again to create a future for Pike County even more promising than its past. That’s what happened when the Black Bear Film Festival was founded, as well as the Milford Enhancement Committee, the Milford Music Festival, Winter Lights Festival, Festival of Wood, the restoration of Grey Towers, founding of the Historic Preservation Trust of Pike County, the establishment and later enlargement of the National Historic District.

These are the initiatives, largely led by the private sector, that have improved the quality of life for all who live in or visit Pike County. They reflect a community spirit that is important and can’t be measured in dollars. They also are very much a part of what makes the Black Bear Film Festival a success each year.

There are several interesting proposed alternatives to the county’s plan. We urge an open and in-depth discussion and analysis of those proposals, a discussion that includes experts on historic preservation and long-range community planning.

Please, commissioners, this is a moment to listen carefully to the hundreds of local residents who have expressed their views on this vital issue. Let’s build a consensus that isn’t so divisive, perhaps isn’t so costly and doesn’t harm the historic district or put our private sector economy at risk.

Jerry Beaver, Founding President
Black Bear Film Festival
Milford, PA