Giving Thanks to a Growing Community and Future Opportunities

November 22, 2021 | Written by: sanford-user

By John Dean, Economic Development Manager


As we give thanks this week to all around us, it is important to remember the tremendous economic growth that both this world, and our small slice of it, has experienced so far in 2021. Globally, more people than ever before have access to resources and prosperity that had not previously existed. In India alone, per capita income has risen by three times more in the past 25 years than in the past 25 centuries combined. Along with this growth comes more freedom: in the last century, the share of the world’s population living in a democracy grew threefold and is now approaching 60 percent.

Here in Lee County, we have experienced growth that few other comparable communities have the last few years. From new businesses, expanded parks, and growing cultural and artistic resources, Lee County has much to be thankful for. When considering giving thanks to being a part of such a growing community in 2021 alone, consider:

  • In April 2021, Abzena Holdings, LLC, announced its decision to locate a biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Shell Building Two at Central Carolina Enterprise Park (CCEP). Abzena will invest $213 million and create 325 new jobs at an average annual wage of more than $60,000
  • The CCEP shell building program has yielded two additional build-to-suit projects – a $12.5 million logistics facility for a life sciences company, and a similarly-sized facility for a recycled rubber products manufacturer
  • Together with other smaller announcements, more than 1600 new jobs and over $1 billion in new capital investment has been announced in the past two and a half years

As we give thanks to the growth of our community, let’s not forget the industrial developments across Sanford and Lee County that provide the tax base that allows our public entities to improve our region’s quality of life. Renovations at Kiwanis Children’s Park, Horton Park, O.T. Sloan Park, and the upgraded San-Lee Gravity Park mountain bike trails are each examples of recreational amenities that benefit all citizens of our community. Even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, this community is seeing new restaurants, breweries, and shops opening across Lee County, not to mention a permanent downtown home for the Sanford Farmers Market and a growing street arts scene. Each of these growing amenities makes Sanford and Lee County a better place to live and for friends and family to visit.

In a community, all livelihoods are connected; therefore, good jobs, strong investments, and sustained growth leads to a better place to live for all of us to enjoy. Sanford is no exception, and for that, we should all be thankful.