Downtown Sanford, Inc. (DSI) is a 501c(3) non-profit dedicated to the economic health and quality of life in Downtown Sanford, North Carolina. DSI strives to continually fulfill its mission, which is as follows:
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.
Upon being selected as a North Carolina Main Street community in 1984, the Downtown Sanford Redevelopment Corporation was formed. 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. As a member of NC Main Street, the organization follows the Main Street Approach to downtown redevelopment. This approach, which marries historic preservation and economic development, uses four key principles: Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Restructuring.
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, both Depot Park and Phase I of Streetscape have been completed. Marketing efforts continue, including joint local advertising efforts and special events designed to bring visitors from across the state into downtown and Sanford. DSI also continues to address daily issues such as parking, appearance, security, infrastructure (lighting, trash collection, etc.), and administration of its building improvement grant program.
DSI is governed by a volunteer 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 $.11 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.