Business View Magazine | December 2018

344 345 parcels that could be improved.We’re looking at a blighted area in our town that abuts our downtown, and we’ve got a plan to turn that area into a village and using the Opportunity Zone as an inducement to bring people from outside town or out of state and say,‘Take ten or twenty of these properties,mix in commercial/retail,whatever you want to do, as long as you build to a certain standard our planning department created, and you can offset your gains, and potentially,make even more money, long term. “We’re going to try and attract big and small developers that want to come in.We’re even con- sidering offering some lots for free, as long as you consider doing something under the village concept that we have. If you buy five of these properties,we may even give you one of ours, as long as you pro- pose a plan that will work.We have some beautiful hundred, hundred-twenty-year-old homes that just need some love. Some need to be brought to the ground; some just need to be improved. “We have an industrial plant that makes pool products–a Fortune 500 company–and their back- yard is in the Opportunity Zone. So, they can defer taxes on a project that they had somewhere else in the United States, and expand their plant if they want to. So we’re using it, not just for residential, but for commercial and industrial use, as well. “The Opportunity Zone concept is pretty new SANFORD, NORTH CAROLINA and most investors are still learning about it and sometimes the government is slow to tell you all the rules and all the IRS ramifications.As soon as that becomes a little clearer,we’re going to market through our Economic Development organization and put it out there.” Another part of Mann’s agenda when he came into office was making Sanford more of a destina- tion attraction.“And one of the things we needed to do was enhance our cultural arts,”he explains. We’ve always had pottery; Temple Theater is one of the best Vaudeville style theaters in the country; but we never really worked on an initiative or celebrat- ed that in any kind of formal way. So,we set out to create a public arts initiative.” That initiative is the purview of LizWhitmore, a member of the City’s Planning and Development Department and the liaison for the program.A major part of the Initiative is the creation of a dozen historical murals in downtown locations, depicting important scenes from Sanford’s past.“We have 11 murals up, as of today,”Whitmore reports.“$150,000 was privately donated money from citizens and businesses, and we received a grant from the State of North Carolina for $40,000.The City chose to match that grant money, so that gave us an extra $80,000 that we are in the process of spending.” “All our murals recognize an event, or people, or a business that is no longer in existence,”Whitmore explains.“Our first mural was the Sanford Spinners, which was a minor league ball team here in the early 1940s; they were the Tobacco Road Champi- ons three years in a row. Crash Davis (whose name inspired the character from the movie, Bull Durham) played for them for one season.Our second mural was Herb Thomas and his Fabulous Hudson Hor- net; he was instrumental in starting NASCAR and Hudson, the car in the movie, CARS, is modeled after his Hudson Hornet.We have Silent Wings for three glider pilots that flew duringWorldWar II,who were born and raised here in Sanford and made it back alive.We’ve also recognized two African-American