Sanford Springvale News

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What is Dessert First?

Dessert First is Friends of Downtown’s initial outreach event to gather input from the community to help discover what citizens love most about Sanford, what future they want for it, and how to best achieve it.

On Thursday, October 20 at Veterans Memorial Gym (678 Main St.) enjoy a free dessert table and free coffee and water from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. A facilitator from Community Heart & Soul will lead guided conversations and activities with your neighbors who live, work and play in Sanford and Springvale. There will be crafting activities for young attendees, so feel free to bring the whole family!

Visit the Dessert First event page on Facebook to indicate if you are “interested” or “going” at This isn’t required for attendance, but will help the Friends plan how many desserts to have on hand.

This event is the start of a 4 phase process, over the next 18 -24 months, that will create a plan that can either be brought to the City Council as a resolution they can adopt, or be put into the Comprehensive Plan.  Sanford/Springvale citizens can feel like they have a voice in how they would like to see the city progress in the future, before the planned reconstruction of downtown streets takes place in a few years.

Who are the Friends of Downtown Sanford?

Friends of Downtown is a group of Sanford/Springvale business owners and residents who are working to foster and promote economic revitalization and community spirit that will generate a sense of pride and create a community where people desire to live, work and play. They meet every other week at 4:30 pm. The next meeting is Wednesday, October 19 at Frannie’s Mini Donuts, and all interested people are welcome to attend.

What is Community Heart & Soul?

Founded by Lyman Orton, proprietor of the Vermont Country Store, developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with over 100 small cities and towns across the United States, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future. Based on three powerful principles – involve everyone, focus on what matters most, and play the long game – Community Heart & Soul helps towns move toward a brighter, more prosperous future by bringing community residents closer together.

Heart & Soul communities experience a range of social and economic benefits:

  • Pride and confidence grow in the town
  • Civility and respect increase
  • Residents feel more connected to one another
  • Volunteerism increases
  • New young leaders emerge
  • More residents run for local office
  • Economic conditions improve
  • Investment in the town increases
  • New local businesses open
  • Town officials gain a deeper understanding of what matters to residents
  • Towns are better prepared to respond to emergency situations

Read this blog post about how the Community Heart & Soul program helped transform Biddeford from “trash town” into a place residents are proud to call home.

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