Monday, February 25, 2013

Block Party Planned For Maple Avenue

The City of Sanford is gearing up for its third annual East Sanford Block Party. This year, the party will happen on Maple Avenue, home of the area's newest park.

You're Invited!

The party will take place on April 13, 2013 from 8am to 2pm. If you'd like to participate, all you have to do is bring your gardening tools, gloves, and a great attitude to work side-by-side with community agencies, volunteers, churches, civic groups, and your local City government to make a difference you can see.

Sanford Rotary Clubs are coordinating at-large volunteers. To let them know you're coming, go to the "East Side Sanford Block Party" event on Facebook. You can also contact John Ramsperger if you aren't on Facebook.

[Download a flyer.] [Download a map.]

Participating Groups

First Congregational Christian Church will host the East Sanford Block Party. Other groups that have already signed on include:
  • Brick Capital CDC
  • East Sanford Baptist Church
  • First Baptist Church
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Lee County 4-H
  • Lee County Public Health
  • Prevailing Life Ministries
  • Sanford Housing Authority
  • Sanford Rotary Clubs


For general questions or more information, contact Karen Kennedy at or 919-777-1113.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Depot Park Train Gets A Brand New Look

Prepare for big changes in the train’s accessibility.

Restoration of Old Steam Locomotive #12 in Depot Park is nearly complete, but the train’s new iron work and fresh paint aren’t the only changes for park goers.

For years, visitors to the area have had free access to the locomotive, despite its age and historical value – but not any longer.

Behind Lock And Key

The Railroad House Historical Association, owner of Locomotive #12, plans to protect the train in an effort to minimize wear-and-tear and preserve the engine for another hundred years.

Along with repairing and repainting the engine, the City of Sanford has installed a new fence around the train that will remain locked except for occasional, pre-arranged, and supervised learning experiences.

The Association wants to make the train an educational exhibit and tourist attraction, similar to how prized historical train engines and cars are used in other communities.

“We know that protecting the train in this way may ruffle some feathers, but we have to keep everyone’s best interests in mind,” explains Woody Seymour with the Association. “We’ve seen children on top of the train, under the tender, and everywhere in between. That’s just not safe,” Seymour says.

Educational Exhibit Only

Not only does heavy use pose a risk for the public, it’s really hard on the train, which is 102 years old and was given to the Association by the Atlantic and Western Railway as a historic and cultural landmark. In addition to the work already completed, the train still needs more welding and a screen replacement.

“This train is the most visible part of our history as a railroad town and we need to protect it,” Seymour points out.

However, Locomotive #12 will not be completely off-limits to visitors. The Railroad House plans to open the fence for guided educational tours to educate the public about Sanford’s rail history on special pre-arranged occasions.

“Our goal is to slow, if not stop, natural erosion as well as the damage caused by the public,” Seymour asserts. “We hope that everyone will join us in making sure this landmark survives for the next generation.”

“The train is a great asset to the park as it is a major draw for young and old alike. Hopefully the steps that the Association and the City have taken will enable the train to be enjoyed for many future generations,” says David Montgomery, director of Downtown Sanford, Inc.

Get Involved

The City of Sanford and the Railroad House Historic Association would love to work with community groups, churches, and businesses to erect more play features at the park. For more information about this opportunity, contact Downtown Sanford, Inc. at 919-775-8332 or

Any groups interested in scheduling a supervised, educational tour when the train is ready can contact the Association at 919-776-7479.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Social Spotlight: Police Officers & Security Services

Question: Can we hire a Sanford police officer to provide security at a party or other event? If so, how much does it cost?

Answer: Yes, the Sanford Police Department allows its officers to provide security services when they are not on duty.

The Details

Off-duty Sanford police officers are permitted to be in uniform, but they are not authorized to drive police department vehicles when conducting off-duty employment.

Police officers are not permitted to work at any events where alcohol will be consumed -- even if the event planners have secured permission for alcohol at the event.

Important: The Sanford Police Department is not involved in handling payment for security services. Rates and availability will be determined by the officer(s).

Make It Happen

Want an off-duty officer to provide security at your next event?

Do this: You must provide the Sanford Police Department with a Certificate of Insurance that covers both workers’ compensation and liability for the police officers you hire. “Officers Of The Sanford Police Department” must be on the certificate in the space provided as “Certificate Holder.” Most insurance companies will be familiar with the process, so your agent should be able to help you.

Once the Certificate of Insurance is prepared, you may fax it with a request for security services to the Sanford Police Department at 919-775-8278. An SPD representative will then work with you to fulfill the request.


If you run into trouble or need more information about the process, you may contact the Major of Field Operations at 919-777-1044.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Endor Iron Furnace: A Tar Heel Traveler Favorite

In a recent episode of Tar Heel Traveler, WRAL reporter Scott Mason highlighted the best of the show's 1,000 stories from all 100 counties.

Included in that illustrious group is a feature on the Endor Iron Furnace right here in Lee County. In the segment, City Planner Bob Bridwell joins Bob Brickhouse, chair of the Endor Action Committee, in discussing the landmark's Civil War roots.

Watch The Segment

Learn More

The Railroad House Historical Association is overseeing the project to restore the Endor Iron Furnace. Here is a great article from The Sanford Herald about the current state of the landmark and restoration effort.

You can see other Tar Heel Traveler segments, including another top favorite featuring Sanford, on WRAL's website.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Local Leaders Join Forces To Assess The Scope Homelessness

l to r: Library Director Mike Matochik, Mayor Cornelia Olive,
and CodeEnforcement Superintendent Carl Anglin study
local maps to pinpoint areas of known homelessness.
The Sanford/Lee County Planning & Development Department met this week with agencies providing services to the area’s homeless population.

If one overall theme emerged it was this: There are many agencies working on the components of homelessness that are specific to our area, and they’re all doing the best they can with their resources.

“Our goal was to get everyone in one room so that we could identify what’s needed, but we also wanted to give everyone else an awareness of the services available in Sanford and Lee County,” explains Karen Kennedy, Community Development Manager for the department.

“As a result of this meeting, we hope to see more collaboration, more partnerships, and more cohesiveness between service providers,” she says.

The Hidden Homeless

While the availability of services in our area is wonderful, there are some steep problems. One of them is that the face of homelessness in our area is not the typical one. According to the meeting’s participants, Sanford/Lee County doesn’t have a large population of homeless individuals sleeping in parks or vacant lots.

Rather, homelessness in our area is more hidden, and therefore more difficult to tackle. For example, homelessness in Sanford/Lee County is more likely to look like a family sleeping in their car or a motel room. It looks like people sleeping in a family member’s spare room, but no idea whether they can stay another night.

Layered Challenges

Not only is homelessness hidden, it is complicated by lack of public resources and no long-term options. For instance, an adult without adequate transportation may not be able to work a steady job or drive a child across town to take advantage of early education opportunities. Without a public transportation system, there’s not much agencies can do to address an issue like transportation.

Similarly, even if an agency can provide shelter for a night, there’s no place for families or adults to go during the day – and no promise of shelter when that agency’s services hit their limits. Without day services or long-term resources, the population struggles to break the cycle of homelessness.

Of course, all agencies and staff present at the meeting agreed that the best way to curb homelessness is by eliminating their root causes, noted Warren Wooten, public sector management professional with the Raleigh-based Wooten Company. Causes of homelessness in our area include unemployment, military re-entry, substance abuse, mental illness, inmate re-entry, and domestic violence.

Next Step: Focus Groups

These areas are where the Planning & Development Department hopes to help. Kennedy will now work with focus groups to determine whether a day center or shelter that offers day programs (or a combination of both) could be viable for our area.

“We want these focus groups to help us decide a) which type of facility will provide the greatest benefit to our local homeless population or b) if there’s a better way to address homelessness in our area,” Kennedy says. Meeting times and locations for these focus groups will be determined soon.

Join The Discussion

Anyone interested in helping to address this issue is encouraged to contact Kennedy at or 919-777-1113.

You can read a great recap of the meeting in the Thursday, Feb. 7 edition of The Sanford Herald and see photos from the meeting on our Facebook page.

Appearance Commission Beautifies Fire Tower Road

This past Saturday, the City of Sanford's Appearance Commission hosted its first trash pickup day of the year.

Pictured, from left to right: Liz Whitmore, Jennifer Maxfield, Rebecca Wyhof,
Anne Sears, David Schau. Photographer: Rex Connor.
By the numbers: Six volunteers met up on Fire Tower Road. After three hours of work, the group collected 12 large bags of trash. The morning started at a chilly 22 degrees but had warmed up to 34 degrees by the end of the clean-up.

The volunteers were Council member Rebecca Wyhof, Commission members David Schau and Jennifer Maxfield, City employees Anne Sears and Liz Whitmore, and Liz's husband Rex Connor.

Anne and Liz clear a fallen log.Rex and Liz during the clean up.
The Commission invites interested volunteers to attend a meeting or lend a hand at the next pickup day. For more information, contact Liz at

Monday, February 4, 2013

City Council To Hold Extra Meetings

February will be a busy month for the Sanford City Council. In addition to regular meetings, the Council will hold the following extra sessions:

Interlocal Agreements Committee Meeting

Three members of the Sanford City Council, three members of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, the city manager, and the county manager will meet to discuss interlocal agreements and sales tax distribution.
When: Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6pm.
Where: West End Conference Room of the Sanford Municipal Center.

Annual Retreat

The Sanford City Council will discuss the priorities and goals for 2013, as well as review the successes and challenges of 2012.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 8am to 12pm.
Where: West End Conference Room of the Sanford Municipal Center.


For more information about either of these meetings, contact Bonnie White at 919-777-1111 or

Friday, February 1, 2013

Greenway Forum Recap

If you were unable to attend the City of Sanford’s public forum on the Greenway Extension, you’re in luck. We've recapped the highlights.

City staff held the public forum on Monday, Jan. 28 at the Lee County Library on Hawkins Avenue (5pm).

[See a map of the existing greenway here.]

Here is the information that was presented to attendees:


  • Besides the recreational benefit, the extension’s proximity to the hospital, medical facilities, and the Nautilus, this an opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles.
  • The extension will get the greenway to the intersection of Carthage Street and fields Drive which opens access to moderate income families that may not have other modes of transportation and opportunities for safe exercise.
  • There were already several organizations using the greenway for numerous walking and running events and the extension would allow for even more sanctioned events.


  • The preliminary budget estimate of the greenway extension was expected to be around $512,000.
  • Costs for the project included easement acquisition, greenway development, therapeutic outdoor exercise equipment, amenities such as benches and trash cans, and construction management.
  • Once constructed the City of Sanford would maintain the facility in much the same manner as the Endor Iron Trail to the north of Kiwanis Family Park.

Fine Details

  • Greenway would extend from the southern terminus of the trail in Kiwanis Park to Central Carolina Hospital.
  • The proposed extension is approximately 3110 linear feet, which would make the total greenway over 3 miles.
  • Applications for PARTF Funding were due January 31, 2012.
  • The City would get notice of award sometime in late spring or mid summer. An agreement would be made in early August.
  • The project will require three years to complete.

Public Response

Attendees offered City staff several ideas that may be incorporated into the final design, such as adding lighting for early morning or late evening use, installing emergency phones, and coordinating a pet policy with Lee County’s Parks & Recreation Department.

For more information about the greenway project, contact David Montgomery at