Sanford, North Carolina

the 1990s–a decline that was further exacerbated by the Great Recession of the early 2000s. Lately, though, Sanford, North Carolina has made a signifi- cant 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 re- gion and we have entered into two interlocal agree- ments with the City of Pittsboro and the County of Chatham.The Chatham County interlocal agree- ment will allow us to provide wastewater service to the newMoncure 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 be- cause it provided the needed 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 SANFORD, NORTH CAROLINA 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 agree- ment 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 re- turn 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 via- ble in the state as more and more regional collab- oration 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.” “Another thing we’re working on are Opportunity Zones,”Mann continues.“It’s an interesting concept. The President wanted us to look at blighted areas across the country and said to the governors of all 50 states,‘Go to each county, and under a certain set of criteria, identify your Opportunity Zones.’ So,we submitted four blighted areas in Sanford that we’d like to see improve, and the State took one. “An Opportunity Zone will allowyou, as a develop- er, to offset your capital gains on a former project by investing them into an Opportunity Zone. So, if you made a million dollars on a project in downtown Raleigh, and you wanted to invest your money in an Opportunity Zone in Sanford, you can defer your taxes on the gains you made on the project in Ra- leigh.You can come in and invest in any one of 300 CHET MANN MAYOR