MILROY – Small towns, like Milroy, could be on the verge of a renaissance. Vincent Brown wants to make sure his city doesn’t miss this opportunity.
Economic and demographic trends could help small towns and villages make a comeback this decade, according to a recent article by an urban planner and urban designer.
Although some leading economists and thinkers are pessimistic about the prospects for these cities and towns, a number of trends point in the opposite direction.
Brown recently joined the Armagh Township Community Group, a non-profit organization raising funds to expand the activities available in the community in 2017.
Volunteer, Brown takes care of their social networks. He and nine other band members are doing their part to help make the community an even better place.
“We have made progress” said Brown. “It has been slow, especially due to the pandemic; however, now that it hasn’t become as big an issue as it used to be, we’re seeing more progress and raising the funds to move forward.
Brown has seen new businesses open in Milroy: Frozen Spoon, a new creamery; and Milroy Deli. This growth gives group members hope for the future.
“Our goal with the revitalization fund is to be able to expand the activities available in the community,” said Brown. “Currently, we have short-term plans, including a holiday party in the township building with a meet-and-greet with Santa for the kids, as well as a long-term vision for restoring the building’s basketball courts. with brand-new equipment, updating the walking path around the building, and possibly installing an outdoor stage for live shows.
“We also plan to expand our annual fireworks display into a full-fledged Milroy Carnival,” he added.
There is also a second citizen group on Facebook, started by resident Kaye-Raye Hepler Stuter. Originally from Milroy who moved back to town in 1991, Stuter created a page titled, “Armagh Township Community”, but has since changed the name to “We love the Township of Armagh!” to differentiate the two group names.
“My page was created for the people of the township of Armagh to share their love of the township in which we live or grew up”, Suter said. “My idea was to promote local activities, local businesses and to encourage improvements in the township of Armagh.
“I think our mission is the same: to make the Township of Armagh a better place to live,” she added.
Stuter didn’t know about the other group when she launched her social media page. Nonetheless, she is happy with the community support for the page.
“I feel like I had a dream and it fell into place” Suter said. “Around Armagh Community Days I saw that Reedsville had a page and wondered why we didn’t.
“We recently had the start of two new businesses in Milroy,” she added. “I also saw a new business in Reedsville and wondered what it was. I went to their page for more information. I started thinking why don’t we have a page.
Stuter posted a message on his personal page and one of his friends, “Milroy Looks” as she calls them, suggested that she start one.
“I thought I could do it and I did” she says.
Since June 1, nearly 1,300 members have joined his group page.
Stuter sees a lot of potential in the Township of Armagh and believes these social media pages bring the community together. She also hosted a meeting to announce their first project and discuss goals.
“About 20 people showed up with great interest” Suter said.
The group’s first community project is to beautify the “bridge,” or entrance, in Milroy, creating a welcoming place at the entrance to the town. The volunteers want to plant chrysanthemums and perennials and place topsoil and river rocks in the area.
Stuter’s group also plans a Care Day where volunteers go out into the community and help someone in need with yard work or cleaning up their living space.