Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Appearance Commission Keeps Fire Tower Road Beautiful

Last Saturday, the City of Sanford's Appearance Commission held their third beautification day along Fire Tower Road in Sanford.

Despite the brisk temperature, the group picked up 14 bags of trash -- and one sorely battered Little Tykes basketball hoop.

Commission members Ken Laughinghouse, David Schau, and Deon Allbrooks enjoyed working with the Boys and Girls Club of Sanford/Lee County's Passport to Manhood program members Noah McEachin, Trevon Carter, Dwayne Lee, Kavaughn Rice, Ardell Shaw, and Jordan Reed. Rounding out the participants were City staff member Liz Whitmore and her husband, Rex Connor.

The group sipped hot chocolate and noshed on warm donuts to combat the cold. And they even had the opportunity to see two does being chased by two large bucks halfway through the morning.

For more information about the Appearance Commission, contact Liz at liz.whitemore@sanfordnc.net.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Social Spotlight: Leaf Pickup Schedule Picks Up Speed

Question: The leaf vac truck hasn't been to my neighborhood in a few weeks and the leaves are beginning to pile up. When can I next expect it?

Answer: Crisp autumn air and longer days usher in more than just pumpkins. They're also a harbinger of the City leaf vac truck's increased frequency.

Starting the first full week of November, the leaf vac truck will hit Sanford streets every week rather than just the first week of each month. The frequency will remain weekly until late December or early January.

For questions or concerns about leaf pickup, call the Public Works Service Center at 919-775-8247.

Raleigh Exec Jetport Reopens After 2 Months

The Raleigh Exec Jetport reopened this Thursday after a nearly two-month hiatus for runway construction and repaving.

County, City, and community leaders gathered to celebrate the reopening with a ribbon cutting. The renovated runway's surface can now hold 100,000 pounds -- up from 80,000 -- and will allow heavier planes to use the airport.

"I am just so proud of what Sanford has become and what it is going to be when everyone realizes what a great asset we have here," said L.I. "Poly" Cohen during the ceremony. Cohen is a member of the Sanford City Council and Airport Authority, as well as a pilot.

For a detailed recap of the ceremony and construction, read this article in Friday's The Sanford Herald.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Youth Learn Why Municipalities Go Green

At the October meeting of the Sanford/Lee County Youth Council, members were treated to presentations about Lee County's and the City of Sanford's recycling programs.

Joe Cherry, the superintendent of Solid Waste at Lee County Government, explained how the county uses its recycling program to eliminate waste, reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills, and to better recover after storms.

Laura Spivey, the City's Public Works administrator and grant writer, shared with the youth council how the Sanford City Council came to the decision to offer municipal recycling. She also discussed the different factors that go into that decision, such as the cost of recycling containers and pick up, as well as keeping an eye on the City's carbon footprint.

Finally, the members visited the City's state-certified compost facility. They were able to see how the City turns plant matter and other natural debris into an operation that benefits both Sanford and its residents.

For more information about the Sanford/Lee County Youth Council, call Karen Kennedy at 919-777-1113.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sanford Welcomes Downtown's New Public Space

City and County officials, business owners, and residents came out to celebrate the Chatham Street Parking Lot, Sanford's newest public space, this past Tuesday.

The parking lot and event venue were developed through a public-private partnership between the City of Sanford, Downtown Sanford Inc, and Progressive Contracting Company.

Here's a before-and-after video of the new space:

For questions or further information about the Chatham Street Parking lot, contact David Montgomery, executive director of Downtown Sanford, Inc at 919-775-8200.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New Lot Kicks Off Downtown Revitalization

Residents and visitors now have a safer, more attractive place to park in downtown Sanford, and it could pay off big for local businesses.

Thanks to a public-private partnership between the City of Sanford, Downtown Sanford Inc, and Progressive Contracting Company, the land between McIver Street and Charlotte Avenue located behind Chatham Street has been renovated for use as a public parking area.

The first step in preparing the 70,000 sq ft space was to clear and grade the land that previously hosted the Lee County Rescue Squad. The City also had to work with Progressive Contracting to convert the existing private parking spaces to public ones.

More Parking, More Business

Now called the Chatham Street Parking Lot, the updated space features 96 public parking spaces, period lighting, a clean view of the Little Buffalo Creek, and public art.

“The Chatham Street Parking Lot will make it easier for business owners, employees, customers, and visitors to park near Chatham Street, Charlotte Avenue, and McIver Street,” explains David Montgomery, executive director of Downtown Sanford, Inc. “The lot will also serve as primary overflow parking for downtown events or as a venue itself,” he says.

Planning For The Future

The lot’s renovation matches the streetscape work completed on Chatham Street, which includes brick-lined sidewalks, partial underground utilities, and period lighting for both pedestrian and street lamps. The voter-approved Streetscape and Pedestrian Improvement bonds will fund streetscaping throughout the downtown area.

“The City’s investment in Chatham Street has already increased property values,” points out City Manager Hal Hegwer. “Property values along Chatham Street averaged $200,000 in 2002 but are $1.75 million now. We expect the new parking lot to bring the same results. And with a safer, free place to park, we anticipate more foot traffic for all of our downtown businesses,” he says.

“This parking lot is a great example of what can be accomplished when diverse groups work together toward a common goal,” notes Paul Weeks, City Engineer. The city hopes the parking lot project will set the tone for future public-private partnerships during the streetscaping process.

Creating A Public Space

The lot’s renovation wasn’t limited to paving and utilities, says Bob Bridwell, director of community development and planning for the City. “We took the opportunity to clean up Little Buffalo Creek,” which runs parallel to the renovated lot. Workers removed trash and debris from the creek and trimmed the creek’s foliage.

The Chatham Street Parking Lot is also home to an Art-Force, Inc public art installation. Created by North Carolina artists and local specialty metals engineering firm WST Industries, the zero-waste six-panel art display was installed in mid-August.

More Information

The public is invited to view the Chatham Street Parking Lot and participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 4:15pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

For questions about the new lot or ribbon cutting, contact David Montgomery at 919-775-8332 or downtown@sanfordnc.net.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sanford PD Hosts Special Operations Students

On Friday afternoon, a group of students from the John F. Kennedy Special War Center and School visited the Sanford Police Department.

The students, who ranged in age from 18 to 22, are training to serve as U.S. Army Civil Affairs personnel. Each recently completed basic training and are now researching their Army career paths.

In particular, Friday's tour was an opportunity for the students to deepen their understanding of local police training and operations. They met with Capt. Tony Hancox and officers Patrick Carroll and Doug Womack of the Community Policing Division for a question-and-answer session followed by a tour of the department.

The Sanford PD provides tours to any group or organization. To schedule one, contact Kelly Quinones Miller at 919-777-1133 or kelly.miller@sanfordnc.net.