Vineyard Shipyard task force working to save Milford shipyard

By Elle Wood
Posted 6/14/24

MILFORD – The shipyards are a very important part of Milford’s history.

The Vineyard Shipyard has been a piece of Milford that is working to preserve the history and allow residents …

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Vineyard Shipyard task force working to save Milford shipyard


MILFORD – The Vineyard Shipyard task force has been a piece of Milford that is working to preserve the city’s history and allow residents to learn what shaped it.

At a city council meeting on June 10, the Vineyard Shipyard in Milford was on the agenda for discussion.

The task force was put together by Dan Bond, owner of Towers Bed & Breakfast, to work to preserve the shipyard on the Mispillion River.

“Our combined efforts in recognition of the value of Milford’s shipyard brought us together in 2017 and we’ve worked hard together with the task force to find a way of preserving this valuable asset,” said Mr. Bond.

They asked the council for $2.6 million to purchase the property. It has been privately owned by Joan and Sedler Loftland since 1995 and they are looking to sell.

The group wants to turn the shipyard into a maritime museum.

“Such restorations improve our tax base, make the downtown more attractive and provide better housing and commercial spaces for downtown occupancy,” said Mr. Bond.

The task force has worked with the Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland to learn about its facility.

“It’s a good example of what could be done in Milford,” said Mr. Bond. “And they started with far less than we have.”

The Vineyard Shipyard is 2.73 acres with 484 feet of waterfront land with a dock and six buildings on. The Loftland family is asking for $4 million, along with three restored yachts, archival material and work shop areas.

To help with the cost of the shipyard, State Reps. Dave Postles and Dave Wilson worked to get a grant of $4 million for the state.

The city would just have to pay for any additional costs.

However, the state wants a decision about the property near the end of June.

Along with that, the Loftland family has offered a grant of $25,000 per year for the first five years to help with getting the museum started.

“I think my take on it is that it is a pretty big ask and on top of that, it is a pretty tight budget year,” said Mayor Todd Culotta.

“There is a lot of stuff to hash out, like are we not interested? Possibly. Are we somewhat interested? I don’t know.”

Task force members hope the city will work to help preserve the history of this area.

“In the 19th century, more ships were built in Milford than in any other town on the Delaware Bay,” said Mr. Bond. “Shipbuilding made Milford. It made it rich and politically powerful during this period.”

The council will continue the conversation at a later meeting. Mayor Culotta said he wants to ensure that newer council members are brought up speed on what has been discussed previously.

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