Sanford has stroke of success in Main Street Matters contest

City wins downtown makeover from Benjamin Moore Company
Jul. 08, 2013 @ 05:24 PM

The votes have been tallied, and with a downtown facelift courtesy of Benjamin Moore Paint Company at stake, Sanford rallied for an opportunity to shine. 

The six-week voting period for Benjamin Moore’s Main Street Matters contest closed June 30, with more than 130 communities vying to be picked. The company announced Monday that Sanford was one of 20 towns selected across the U.S. and Canada, which will recieve a revitalization package including exterior painting of downtown businesses along a two- to three-block stretch.

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive joked that she had voted “about a million times.”

“I was thrilled and excited,” Olive said of hearing the news. She added that with a bond referendum coming before voters for several local capital projects, “This is a perfect prelude to that.” 

“We got it because of the enthusiasm for our community,” Olive said, “and that makes me feel really good.” 

Likewise, Downtown Sanford Inc. Executive Director David Montgomery said the large number of votes “shows the community’s passion.” 

“I think this is fantastic,” he added. “Sanford should be very proud of itself because there were some larger communities that were on the list.” He also agreed that the win “coincides nicely” with the bond referrendum for improvements to downtown and other areas. 

According to a prepared statement from Benjamin Moore, the projects are due to begin this summer and continue through early 2014, and they will be undertaken with the help of multiple partner organizations including the company’s longtime partner Make It Right and its network of independent dealers — plus local municipalities, small businesses and local chambers of commerce.

“Benjamin Moore will provide all necessary paint, stain and supplies for façades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims,” the statement explains. “The areas to be painted will be determined jointly with town representatives and residents, and Benjamin Moore color experts will consult on color choices.”

Montgomery said downtown stretches from Chatham Street to the corner of Wicker and Carthage streets; and from Gordon Street to Wall Street — which he said is a pretty big area considering the win will benefit a few blocks. 

He said some sort of selection process will probably determine where the painting will happen, and it will likely be joint effort by private businesses and city officials. He added that any work in the historic district would have to be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission.

As for whether the painting will spur other local improvements, Montgomery said, “I hope so.” He also anticipates a positive economic impact from the win, which gives locals more pride in downtown and encourages outsiders to visit.  

“There may be good candidates that may need some work prior to a repaint, and I think thats the intent of Benjamin Moore, to see this thing get further beyond just the painting,” he said. “These things are certainly contagious”

A full list of Main Street Matters winners is available at http://www.paintwhatmatters.com/the-20-main-street-matters-picks-for-2013/

Reporter Will Doran contributed to this story.