Touch of Italy Owner Blames Crime for Milford Restaurant Delay - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Touch of Italy Owner Blames Crime for Milford Restaurant Delay

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MILFORD, Del.- After months of delays and a lawsuit, Touch of Italy owner Bob Ciprietti says the company's long-planned Milford restaurant is facing another roadblock: crime.

"We have people urinating on the windows while people are working inside. We unfortunately had an overdose in the parking lot," he says. "Candidly, we see drug deals being done in the parking lot sporadically."

Ciprietti says he does not feel comfortable opening the restaurant at the old historic bank on Front Street until the area is cleaned up. But Mayor Archie Campell says downtown is the safest part of Milford.

"Perception is one thing. Reality is another thing," Campbell explains. "There's not a lot of problems downtown so Touch of Italy, I think is a little in left field. There's drugs everywhere." 

Both Campbell and Ciprietti agree to expanding the police force. Campbell says he's hired five new police officers and wants to hire two more. Ciprietti says nearly 30 people and businesses downtown have signed off on a call for more foot patrols and coverage downtown, which Ciprietti says the businesses will help pay for.

Campbell wonders if there are other reasons aside from alleged crime that are contributing to Ciprietti's decision, such as Touch of Italy's warehouse plans on Airport Road in Milford.

"He says once that's completed then he is going to start on where the bank is," he says. "But my question is three years have gone by now, you could've done all of that before."

But Ciprietti says it's all about safety for his employees, who use the bank as Touch of Italy's corporate headquarters.

"Ultimately what I've witnessed and what my people have gone through, I have to make a decision to do the right thing, what's best for Touch of Italy," he explains.

Arena's partner Ramsey Schrader wants people to come out to downtown Milford to see the area for themselves, which he says is only getting better.

"Milford is a very vibrant town and I don't think it's being represented as well as it really is," he tells WBOC. "With all the bike rides and community events that we do here downtown, we've never really had these safety issues."

In his interview, Ciprietti praised Milford's leadership and business community. He says he has no plans to sell the historic property.

"I don't want to give up on Milford because Milford has potential and the people there are wonderful," he says. "The people there aren't the problem. It's the people that are coming in there to buy these drugs are the problem."

In other Touch of Italy news, a lawsuit against Ciprietti was dismissed in Chancery Court this week. 





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