Chamber Chat - Business View Magazine

Dec 30

By Meg Moss


Business View Magazine recently published an article entitled “Sanford, North Carolina – Leveraging its Assets”. BVM interviewed Sanford Mayor Chet Mann as part of their series on best practices in American cities. A portion of the article reads:


“Sanford, North Carolina, located in the central Piedmont area of the state, is a city of approximately 30,000, and the county seat of Lee County… The city was incorporated in 1874, and named after C.O. Sanford, a railroad engineer who was instrumental in the building of the rail lines through the area.


Because Sanford sits where white beach sand from the coast meets the Piedmont clay, the city has the right ingredients to be a large producer of clay bricks. In fact, at one time, Sanford produced almost 10 percent of the bricks in the United States and was named “Brick Capital of the USA.” Other industries which contributed to the city’s economy included textiles, furniture, and tobacco, all of which began suffering a severe decline in the 1990s – a decline that was further exacerbated by the Great Recession of the early 2000s. Lately, though, Sanford has made a significant comeback, redefining its character and charting its growth for the future.


“We put an agenda out there; we had a vision and that vision was the continual leveraging of our assets,” says Sanford Mayor, Chet Mann, who was first elected in 2013 with an “Open for Business” platform, focused on job creation, quality of place, community pride, and establishing Sanford as a destination location. “One of the things that we’ve done is that we have taken our biggest asset which is water and wastewater capacity,” he continues. “We probably have more capacity than anyone in our region and we have entered into two interlocal agreements with the City of Pittsboro and the County of Chatham. The Chatham County interlocal agreement will allow us to provide wastewater service to the new Moncure Megasite (a 2,500+ acre industrial property, located in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina).”


“In that agreement, we will share their property tax revenue for the next 50 years.” Mann adds. “They actually have two megasites in Chatham County; they could not afford the millions that it takes for both, so they needed to do an equal distribution for both megasites. So, we were able to come in and provide the wastewater capacity and a $12 million wastewater line. That was a great collaboration because it provided the needed the component for Chatham County to bring in jobs. And we’ll be a partner.” In addition, the City has its own pieces of industrial parkland that are available should an OEM, such as a large automobile manufacture decide to locate at the Moncure Megasite. “If that OEM hits, we’ll have plenty of prime spots below market rate to attract that big industrial user and its suppliers. That would be a game changer.”


“We did something similar in Pittsboro,” Mann continues. ”There’s a development called Chatham Park that’s going to be the third largest planned neighborhood in the United States. Pittsboro’s got about 4,000 people and simply did not have the water or wastewater capacity. They’re going to need to provide 60,000 people over the next 20 years. We were able to do that. We signed an interlocal agreement with the Town of Pittsboro to provide two million gallons a day of wastewater capacity; their plant currently has a 750,000 capacity and they were already two thirds full to that.


“So, in leveraging those assets, we receive a return on investment and kind of create this regional collaboration that’s been important, going forward. Over time, it’s going to be a great partnership for both of us in both those areas and will keep us viable in the state as more and more regional collaboration happens. It’s easier to get grants; it’s easier to get federal and state funds when you’re working collaboratively and not stopping at the county line. That’s how cities our size are going to have to do things in order to be viable. You’ve got to leverage your assets, share them, and use them to grow.””


Business View Magazine is a source of news for executives, entrepreneurs, small business owners, franchisees, and anyone else interested in current industry trends and best practices. Every month, thier digital platform covers the latest developments in manufacturing, construction, infrastructure, supply chain and logistics, health care, food and beverage, and energy. They also cover the public sector, reporting on the latest advances in municipal public works, green initiatives, and college sustainability programs.


Thanks to Business View Magazine for putting Sanford in the spotlight amongst the many communities they had to choose from!

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