Friday, August 21, 2015

Depot Acquisition Marks New Era for Sanford

More than 100 years after it first opened and 14 years after the land around it became a park, the City of Sanford acquired the historic Sanford Depot on August 19.

A landmark in Sanford, the Depot was built in 1910 to service passengers of three rail companies. To save the building from destruction, the Sanford Area Association of Realtors (SAAR) purchased and upfitted it in the early 1990s to use as office space.

Just as Depot Park has become an economic engine for downtown Sanford, officials expect the building to increase Sanford’s sense of place and continue to be a touchstone for the community.

The purchase dovetails with Mayor Chet Mann’s “Open for Business” vision to establish Sanford as a destination. Mann’s ultimate goal is to turn the building into a future visitors’ center and be the focal point of a newly revitalized downtown. He even has hopes of returning Sanford to a stop on Amtrak’s route.

“With this acquisition, we have preserved our railroad history for Sanford and have secured the use of this historic building for future generations,” Mann explains. “As we invest millions in our downtowns, not having the Depot as one of our focal points would have left this project incomplete.”

Putting this historic building into the public’s hands “signifies the partnership between the Sanford Area Association of Realtors and the City of Sanford in the downtown Sanford revitalization project,” says Crystal Copas, board president. “SAAR is excited to work with the mayor and Sanford City Council to make Sanford a destination for people to bring their families and businesses.”

The City’s investment in the Depot is “one more step in our community’s face lift of downtown Sanford,” says Bob Joyce, executive director of the Sanford Area Growth Alliance.

The Railroad House Historical Association, Inc. looks forward to continuing its partnership with the City to enhance Sanford by showcasing the history and charm of the Depot,” says Oliver Crawley, the association’s president.

“I could not be more grateful to the Sanford Area Association of Realtors for sharing in our vision for a revitalized City and joining us in our effort to bring new life to Sanford and foster a new era of growth and prosperity for all of our citizens,” Mann says. “I am also especially thankful to the City Council, City of Sanford staff, the Sanford Area Growth Alliance, and all the private citizens who have been so supportive of this effort.”

“The Board of Realtors had a vision when they saved the building more than 30 years ago, and they deserve credit for that vision,” Joyce points out. “Sanford City Council should also be congratulated on their push to close the deal and make this long-sought addition to the public space at Depot Park.”

“Great things are happening again in Sanford and this purchase of the Depot is indicative of the great forward momentum we have right now,” Mann says.

To mark this significant partnership, there will be a celebration at the Depot building in the coming weeks. For more information, contact public information officer Kelly Miller at 919-777-1133.


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