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“Seena Heller Way” Honors Planning Board Member

The two separate halves of Cemetery St. are indicated by arrows. The portion reached from Claflin St. is being renamed "Seena Heller Way." (Google Earth image)

Seena Heller served on the town's Planning Board for 27 years and, to many in town, her name is synonymous with Milford's modern growth due to its zoning and planning regulations. The Board of Selectmen recognized her service by voting unanimously on February 24 to rename the 470-foot portion of Cemetery Street reached from Claflin St. as "Seena Heller Way."

Attorney Warren Heller, one of her children, said family members are "proud and honored" by the recognition given to their mother. In particular, he thanked Selectman Brian Murray for suggesting the road be renamed after her.

"I think that's a great honor for a woman who did a great service to the town for many years," commented Marble Mainini, a current Planning Board member who served with Seena Heller. "I think that it's a great honor for Seena." Long-time Planning Board Clerk Karen Jackson, who also served with Seena Heller, said, "I worked with her for many years. I think it's a great honor for her. She was very dedicated to this town and this job."

The issue of renaming the road arose from a request made to the board in January by Blaire House, which is building a new assisted living center across the street from its existing skilled nursing facility on Claflin St. The name, "Cemetery St.," is "not conducive to the clientele," Executive Director Kyle Romano said. Based on his father's love of things that are nautical, he asked the board to rename the road "Lighthouse Way."

Town officials readily agreed with changing the name, especially since Cemetery Street is the only road in town that has two separate – but unconnected – pieces. The other portion of the road, separated from the Claflin St. side by railroad tracks, is reached from nearby Depot St.

Selectman Brian Murray said the suggested name did not jibe with other street names in the area – which he said were named after historic families in town. "It does make sense to change the name for public safety reasons and other reasons," Murray said, but wanted the town's Historical Commission to suggest a more fitting name. Murray himself suggested naming the road after Seena Heller.

The Historical Commission looked into the issue and suggested five potential names to the board: Bickford Way – after the old Bickford Shoe company, Scammel Way – after the Milford native who became an adjutant general under George Washington, Old Village Way, Heritage Way or Heritage Lane, and Historic Avenue. Selectman decided not to choose one of those names and stuck with Murray's original suggestion.

I want to thank the Historical Commission for the work that they did to provide us with these names," Murray said. "I think that [naming the road after Seena Heller would be a very appropriate way to honor the work that she did on behalf of the community."


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