In this month's issue: City Manager Steve Buck wins MTCMA Manager of the Year Award; Sanford's website gets a makeover; Amendments to Sanford sign ordinance being reviewed; Two Sanford companies receive CDBG grants; September housing workshop will give Sanford a chance to imagine the future; and more!

News & Events

Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport Restaurant RFP

The City of Sanford, which owns and operates the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport is soliciting proposals from qualified restaurant operators to enter into a lease and operating rights agreement to provide a wide variety of food and beverage support for the traveling public at the airport. Proposals must be received by 3:00 PM EST on September 15, 2017 to be eligible for consideration.

Details can be found here.
City of Sanford's Website Gets a Major Makeover

The City of Sanford has given its website a face-lift, and the results are outstanding!  The newly revamped site, found at the same web address (, is much easier to navigate than the former site and is livened up by photos of the community and a clean, modern design. A new FAQ page contains contacts for those seeking business permits and licensing.

Additional tweaking to the site may take place over the next several weeks, so the public is encouraged to check back often and to report any issues to
Sanford Sign Ordinance Undergoing Amendments

For the past few weeks, Sanford's Planning Board has been reviewing draft amendments to the city's sign regulations. Comments have been invited from local businesses and residents. The Planning Board will hold another workshop on the draft amended sign ordinance later this month:
Tuesday, August 29
6:30 PM
City Council Chambers
3rd Floor of City Hall
917 Main Street

The Planning Board invites comments in any format. Comments can be offered in person at the workshop, via email to the Planning Director:, or by phone conversation at (207) 324-9150.

The latest revised draft of the amended sign regulations can be found here. Please note that another revision may be available closer to the date of the workshop, so it is a good idea to check back on the City's website for updates around August 25th.
SanfordNet Fiber Update

This month, Tilson, the City's engineering firm for the SanfordNet Fiber (SNF) project, has been meeting on site with building owners in the industrial parks and other community anchor institutions (CAI). The outreach to almost 90 public and private facilities including the preparing of inside plant (ISP) designs and securing appropriate permissions has been more time-consuming than originally planned. However, good progress is being made.

In parallel with this exercise, we are working closely with Tilson and our network operator GWI to ensure we have the proper fiber count to meet the needs of our customers now and into the future. A final list of locations for the initial build-out of the fiber network is being compiled. Business interest has been high as word has gotten out about the ISP exercise. We are working to accommodate other entities not on the original CAI list. Fiber count determinations will be made shortly. We will keep the EDA, our federal grantor, apprised of any adjustments so all approvals are in place as we ready ourselves for the RFP later this fall to select a firm to build the SNF construction project. As always, we will continue to provide updates in our newsletter.
Sanford Companies to Receive Grant Awards from DECD's Community Development Block Grant Program

We are very pleased to announce that two Sanford businesses will be receiving grants from Maine DECD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in 2017. The City of Sanford will receive the funds on behalf of the two companies and will work with them to make sure they meet the conditions of their grant awards.

T&D Wood Energy was featured in our June newsletter and plans to build a wood pellet manufacturing facility adjacent to Pleasant River Pine's sawmill on New Dam Road. The pellet plant will utilize sawdust, off-cuts and other wood by-products from the Pleasant River facility, as well as others in the region, to make high end wood pellets that will retail at stove shops throughout the area. The facility will create up to 25 jobs and plans to start production this winter.  "The Growth Council did an amazing job helping us get our application together so quickly," said Tony Wood, co-owner of T&D Wood Energy, "And the city departments have been really helpful as we work through the application process. I’m very excited to get started. Things are moving quickly for us, and the timing on this award couldn’t have been any better."

Moody's Collision Centers has had a presence in Sanford since 2010. The company has its workers at the core of its identity and operates an employee stock option plan (ESOP) whereby the workers own a portion of the company and are empowered to participate in making decisions about how the business is run. Moody's plans to invest further in its workforce by using its grant award to offer industry-specific training to employees so they can improve their skill levels and increase their earning potential. "The insurance industry requires us to maintain certain training standards that are expensive," said Danielle Moody, who worked closely with our staff to prepare the winning application. "Our co-workers are ecstatic that we have been offered this grant so we can continue to get them the training they need to provide the highest level of service to our customers. We are grateful to the Growth Council and the City for supporting us in this - it will be a huge help!"
Latest High School Construction Video

The latest video of construction on Sanford's new high school and technical center, filmed in July, shows the amazing amount of progress that has been taking place over the summer. Check it out by clicking on the picture above. You can view past videos and view weekly site reports and photos on the School Construction News page.
On August 17th, Events in Downtown Sanford Focus on Community

On Thursday, August 17, downtown Sanford will see two events focused on the community: one through the lens of history and past events that have shaped Sanford; the other through food, fun, sharing of knowledge and connection with neighbors to build a stronger, safer city.

At 4:30 PM there will be a ceremony at "Mill Square" on Washington Street near Number One Pond to honor the founders of the Sanford-Springvale Chamber of Commerce. Rick Stanley, Chamber of Commerce president, will emcee the event, which will bring together Sanford locals and family members of the 44 original founders of the Chamber of Commerce, to dedicate a new monument bearing the founders' names and the story of the Chamber's founding. More information can be found in this article from the Sanford News.

From 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, the fourth annual Police Community Cookout will bring together community members and Police in Central Park. This yearly event is a great opportunity for the public to meet and relax with their local police officers and enjoy freshly-prepared hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and more - all free to the public. This year, kids can get a free finger-printing kit, too! More information on the cookout is available from the event flyer.

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Letter from Executive Director Jim Nimon - August 2017

The dog days of August are upon us. Tough getting the dogs off the couch and moving, with some of the recent humidity! That’s our new rescue, Mr. Bo Jingles, pictured (at right) firmly planted on the couch at camp. We hope you’ve had a chance to get to a quiet coastal spot this month with loved ones or a friend or two. If not, maybe you tried to get everyone together in one place at one time like we did at Kinney Shores! (See below.) Whatever your plans, please take full advantage of the short window of time we have in Maine to get out and enjoy summer!

I’m feeling very upbeat about Sanford, Maine this month. A number of us are fresh off a secret trip to Sunday River in Newry to surprise and support Sanford city manager Steve Buck as this year’s Manager of the Year. The event, before a statewide audience, provided Mayor Tom Cote an opportunity to praise the many positive attributes of the city manager and enabled Steve Buck to highlight the City of Sanford’s significant accomplishments in recent years. We’re pleased to share more about the celebration in the article below.

The growth council has been working for a number of months with two companies – T&D Wood Energy and Moody’s Collision Centers – to assist with their applications to Maine’s Office of Community Development for funding consideration under the CDBG program. Given the competition across the state for these limited resources, we couldn’t be happier to announce that the state has awarded the grants to the City of Sanford on behalf of the two companies. Please see the article below left for an explanation about the awards and how they support the business plans for each company.

This month we also feature articles on: the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport’s just-released RFP, soliciting proposals from qualified restaurant operators (due by September 15th); the City of Sanford’s newly-revamped website (please visit and offer your feedback); The City of Sanford’s draft sign ordinance (please continue to participate in the shaping of this draft - see below left for details); and on August 17th please note that there is a dedication ceremony for the original founders of the Sanford-Springvale Chamber of Commerce and a little while later the annual Police Community Cookout (you can walk from Mill Square to Central Park and attend both).
Finally, we provide a very brief update on SanfordNet Fiber so you know we are still hard at work each week with our private partners to bring this critical infrastructure project to fruition in 2018, and we include a link to the latest high school construction video, so you can view the significant progress being made at that location just off of Main Street.

Enjoy the rest of your summer! See you in September.

Sanford City Manager Steve Buck Wins Manager of the Year Award

On Wednesday, August 9th, Sanford's City Manager Steve Buck was honored with the Maine Town and City Managers Association (MTCMA) Linc Stackpole Manager of the Year Award, the group's most prestigious accolade. Steve was nominated in secret and was surprised with the well-deserved award at the MTCMA's annual New England Management Institute conference at the Jordan Hotel at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, ME. Sanford Mayor Tom Cote presented the award to Steve, and Deputy Mayor Herlihy, Growth Council Director Jim Nimon and IDC President Bob Hardison were there to witness the presentation along with several members of the City's management team and Steve's friends and family, all of whom had traveled to the venue in secret to surprise him at a banquet filled with Town, City and County managers from throughout the state.

Mayor Tom Cote presents the Linc Stackpole award to Steve Buck.

"I was fortunate to have been on the selection committee that recommended Steve to the Town Council in 2012... Needless to say I couldn't be more pleased with his decision [to come to Sanford] and the incredible work ethic and skill set he has displayed since then in leading the community out of historically difficult economic times and onto a path for a positive economic future." - James Nimon, Executive Direector, SREGC

Steve Buck was hired as Sanford's Town Manager in 2012, then became City Manager when the community voted to become Maine's newest city in 2013. Under his leadership, the city has taken a progressive approach to economic growth, with a focus on fostering beneficial public-private partnerships like the Sanford Solar initiative - in which a utility-grade solar installation will be built by a private company on land it is leasing from the Sanford-Seacoast Regional Airport - and the SanfordNet Fiber project, which will create an ultra-high speed fiber optic internet owned by the City. Steve serves (by position) as a board member for the Growth Council and works closely with our director Jim Nimon on a host of initiatives. "I was fortunate to have been on the selection committee that recommended Steve to the Town Council in 2012 and (as interim Town Manager) had the honor of showing him around the Sanford-Springvale area as he considered his interest in becoming the next Manager," said Jim Nimon. "Needless to say I couldn't be more pleased with his decision at that time and the incredible work ethic and skill set he has displayed since then in leading the community out of historically difficult economic times and onto a path for a positive economic future." 

When we were approached by the local award nominators to highlight Steve's role in SanfordNet Fiber, GWI's Fletcher Kittredge and I drafted a joint letter of support that said in part:

"We have worked closely with City Manager Buck for more than three years to build a team of community stakeholders and broadband experts, secrure funding and set the stage for the construction of a 45-mile municipal fiber optic network - SanfordNet Fiber - the largest by far in Maine.  Steve has provided the critical and steady leadership necessary to move this major initiative from an idea in 2013 to full implementation in 2018. Under Mr. Buck's sound guidance, the economic impact to Sanford and the surrounding region is documented and noteworthy; it will have lasting and positive significance to both businesses and residents. Mr. Buck is a deserving and worthy choice to receive this award."

Here are a couple of additional examples that illustrate why we believe Steve's work in Sanford merited statewide recognition and accolades. Steve is an extremely hard worker and is not afraid to get his hands dirty - sometimes quite literally, as when he found himself part of an unexpected archaeological dig at a Sanford construction site where remains of a Victorian-era coffin were found earlier this year. When one of the Stenton Trust mill buildings was set on fire on a Friday evening in late June, Steve was an hour and a half north of Sanford, driving to his remote Maine camp for the weekend. But when he heard the news, he immediately turned around and headed back to Sanford to help manage the aftermath of the five-alarm blaze. These instances exemplify Steve's style: roll up your sleeves, wade in, and get the job done. At the Growth Council we don't believe you can find a harder-working City Manager anywhere, and we are happy to see him honored for all he does. Congratulations, Steve!

Steve Buck, center, with Executive Assistant Sherry Lord and Sanford Mayor Tom Cote at the awards ceremony.

The MTCMA Linc Stackpole Manager of the Year Award is given to a Public Administrator who has contributed to the public management field in some outstanding fashion. The award recognizes professionalism, integrity, leadership, and the confidence and respect of the recipient's peers. Recipients also must demonstrate a socially responsible approach towards their community; concern for the well-being, support and growth of their municipal colleagues; and contribution and service beyond their community of service through organizations at regional, state and national levels. Learn more about the MTCMA and the Linc Stackpole Award on the MTCMA website.

September Housing Workshop Will Give Sanford Community a Chance to Imagine the Future

The City of Sanford and the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast (WHC) will hold a design workshop in Sanford on September 26 and 28, 2017 to explore opportunities to create housing for people who work in the Sanford region. The workshop will focus on the Stenton Mill site (the location of a recent fire)and nearby properties and is intended to help the community imagine and discuss the type of redevelopment it would like to see in the area of the Mill. 

A Community Listening Session will be held on Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00 PM to guide preparation of architectural renderings/designs which will be presented and discussed on Thursday, September 28 at 6:00 PM at a Community Reveal. Both events will be held on the third floor of Sanford City Hall. “Members of the public are not only welcome, they are essential to the success of the workshop. We encourage them to join the discussion and make sure their voices are heard,” said City Manager Stephen Buck.

The two-day workshop is designed to encourage conversations about homes for the workforce, including who the workforce is, who needs housing, and why housing is needed. The program brings together property owners, municipal staff, boards, businesses and community members with volunteer teams of housing professionals, including architects, engineers, developers, real estate agents, and bankers. The workshop is intended to generate ideas for neighborhood development that could include modest market-rate homes, as well as a mix of other uses such as commercial businesses and recreational spaces. 

“We hope that the workshop will engage existing and prospective residents and employers and help provide scope for new public-private partnerships in the heart of Sanford,” said Jim Nimon, Executive Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council. “Understanding the interconnection of these groups is a key part of what the Growth Council strives to do, and harnessing this chance to hear from all sectors could create tremendous opportunity for our community.”

The workforce includes people from public and private sectors, blue and white collar jobs, and from all age brackets: young college graduates, empty nesters and seniors, among others. These workers are critical to serving both business and community needs. Sanford recognizes that its employers are experiencing challenges with recruiting and retaining workers, some who cannot find acceptable housing in Sanford. For this reason, input from the commercial and industrial sectors will be important as well.

The workshop will generate conversation about what Sanford could be in the future. Design concepts will be prepared based on ideas about needs, interests, and possibilities gathered directly from community members, with the goal of informing future planning for workforce housing. “The workshop will also include a review of land use, zoning, and other regulations to ensure they enable and facilitate the ability to create the community that meets the needs of Sanford residents and enterprises in the present and the future,” said Beth Della Valle, Sanford’s Director of Planning & Development.

About Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast (WHC): The mission of the WHC is to work with a coalition of business, government, and community groups to serve as a catalyst for creating a range of housing options to meet the needs of the diverse workforce of Maine and New Hampshire’s greater seacoast region. The WHC is a nonprofit outreach and education organization, not a housing developer. The Sanford workshop is not associated with any redevelopment proposals. Learn more about WHC on their website.

For additional information about the September workshop, contact:

Beth Della Valle
City of Sanford Planning & Development Director

Robin Comstock
Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast
Copyright © 2017 Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, All rights reserved.
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