Downtown Sanford, Inc. Downtown Sanford, Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit dedicated to the economic health and quality of life in Downtown Sanford, North Carolina. Downtown Sanford, Inc. (DSI) strives to continually fulfill its mission, which is as follows:
The mission of DSI is to manage the development of Downtown Sanford as the primary economic, cultural, and social center of the community; to educate the community on the unique assets and historical significance of the downtown area; and to promote and stimulate the improvement of these assets.
The non-profit was originally formed in 1984 as a result of Downtown Sanford being selected as a North Carolina Main Street community in 1984. In 1980, the National Trust for Historic Preservation had created the National Main Street Center to encourage revitalization in downtown areas that had become victims of urban sprawl. DSI follows the Main Street Approach to downtown redevelopment, an approach which marries historic preservation and economic development using four key areas: Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Restructuring.
The corporation is governed by a 16-member Board of Directors, which are appointed by the sitting board members. The funding for the organization comes from private donations and tax revenues generated within a municipal service district. Currently, property owners within the municipal service district pay an additional $.13 per $100 valuation to support downtown initiatives. The City of Sanford also contributes substantially through funding for the Director's salary and through both financial and in-kind contributions to specific capital improvement projects.
In 1997, the Downtown Sanford Redevelopment Corporation embarked on a long-range strategic work plan. Components of the work plan included changing the name to Downtown Sanford, Inc., preparing a market study for downtown, developing the design for Depot Park, and commissioning the initial stages of a streetscape improvement plan.
Today, Depot Park has been completed and a draft of a Downtown Enhancement Plan is in its final stages. Marketing efforts continue, including joint local advertising efforts and special events designed to bring visitors from across the state into downtown and the Lee County community. DSI also continues to manage daily issues such as parking, appearance, security, infrastructure (lighting, trash collection, etc.), and administration of its building improvement grant program.