LETTER: Referendums aren’t real revitalization
To the Editor:
As the owner of a small business in downtown Sanford, I have given the bond referendum much thought. The list of things that the city of Sanford is planning to do with the bonds is useless.
For example, Chatham Street has been streetscaped, and there’s no difference between it and any other street downtown. Sanford is slowly dying while outer areas are building up. Sidewalks, trees and awnings are not going to cut it when it comes to revitalization. The city should be advertising our downtown area, or concentrating on bringing revenue in to advertise local businesses. Why not impose a business license for those operating in the city, $25 or $50 a year, from each business would create a good advertising budget?
Thousands of Army families reside within 30 minutes of Sanford, so why not reach out to them? The U.S. Open is coming to Pinehurst next year! Billboards on U.S. 1 and N.C. 87 that say, “Shop Downtown Sanford” would be great. Where are our street festivals? I am excited that Sanford is starting Second Sundays this September, although I was hoping for a Friday night event as many other towns do successfully. Bring back the Pottery Festival to downtown.
Help our Farmer’s Market grow! Open it up to crafters of handmade items. Charlie Daniels is coming! Advertise downtown Sanford! What is being done to ensure that the businesses that are here continue to stay? Do we want to see Sanford become a ghost town like so many other railroad towns? All of these things have worked for other towns, make them work for us!
We have a unique theater — what are we doing to promote it? Rather than worry about whether or not we have flowers in our flower boxes, how big our signs are, or whether or not we have balloons, worry about whether or not the buildings behind these flower boxes are full of stores that people would come here to shop at, whether it be from near or far? The city should be more concerned about bringing customers downtown and promoting the businesses that have already chosen Sanford as home. Fill our buildings with shops. Advertise. Everything else will fall into place.
I am voting no on the bonds because they cost the taxpayers money without doing anything to ensure that Sanford prospers and grows.