Growth Council Quarterly Update: Fall 2021

Jim Nimon, Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, presented his quarterly report to the City Council on Tuesday, October 19.

Reorganization: Mr. Nimon updated the Council on the Growth Council’s reorganization and expansion to 11 board members. Nine have been appointed, with representatives of small business employers and large business employers still to be appointed. He will release information on all the board members as soon as those appointments are made.

Stenton Mill: The Winn Company, a Massachusetts-based developer, has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Sanford Sewer District, which is the owner of record for the property. Winn had hoped to get financing for the project lined up this summer, but the lengthy preapplication process with Maine Housing has stretched the timeline for financing into next year. The company is expected to extend its option on the property, secure the financing in 2022, and begin construction in the spring of 2023, with a 14-month construction period. Winn has completed many similar projects, but this will be its first in the state of Maine.

Small Business Growth Kit: The Growth Council has signed a contract with Strategic Networks Group to gather data on thirty companies that are nearest to SanfordNet Fiber, the City’s high-speed fiber optic communications network. SNG will provide the companies with individualized assessments of how they can better utilize the internet to grow their businesses.

Lenox School property: The owner of the site in Springvale where buildings once housed dormitories for Nasson College had applied for the zoning on the property to be changed from Single Family Residential to Urban, which would allow the buildings to be converted to apartments. (See previous story and most recent update.) However, an interested housing developer has signed a purchase and sale agreement on the property, but is amenable to doing a contract zone with the City rather than a zoning change. A contract zone would mean only specified uses would be allowed on the property, rather than all of the large-scale commercial uses that are allowed in the Urban zone.

Guide to doing business: Mary Hastings, the Growth Council’s Small Business Advocate, has been working on a guide to doing business in Sanford, which is almost complete. Initial feedback from developers has been very positive.

Friends of Downtown: Ms. Hastings has been working closely with the Friends of Downtown group, which has gotten off to a great start. 40 businesses and organizations have signed up to participate in the group’s Scarecrows with Selfies contest, far exceeding expectations for the first year of the event. The group has additional activities in the planning stages.

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