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
Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast