As one of the oldest incorporated cities in Central Florida, founded in 1877, Sanford is home to a wealth of history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Brick-lined streets, elegant storefronts and large Victorian era homes throughout the downtown area immediately remind visitors of the City’s 19th Century origins. Sanford sits on the south shore of Lake Monroe at the head of the navigation on the St. Johns River.
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Sanford is home to the Orlando-Sanford International Airport, Amtrak AutoTrain Station, a regional shopping mall, a retail mega center and SunRail, a commuter rail system serving Seminole and 3 adjacent Counties. The downtown is a vibrant commercial center with antique shops, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and art galleries. The Saturday morning Farmers Market in historic Magnolia Square is a popular weekly fixture attracting visitors from a large area.
Picturesque First Street, the center of downtown Sanford, was revitalized to add historical elements such as a two-lane brick street and traditional light posts. The City of Sanford and the Sanford Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) have worked with its community partners, such as businesses, property owners and residents of Sanford to create the design for a new streetscape on Sanford Avenue between 1st and 6th Streets. This $2.3 million project has redeveloped the six-block area of Sanford Avenue. Sanford Avenue is also a cultural and entertainment corridor that is becoming an ideal location to attract new businesses to Sanford. The Sanford Avenue Streetscape concept design integrates the needs of business owners, pedestrians, cyclists, residents, and visitors. Community Movies.
This includes the installation of an 8 foot wide cultural pathway where there is opportunity to feature artistic elements to this area such as street sculptures and murals. The cultural pathway of the streetscape is a direct connection to Sanford’s RiverWalk. This pathway also includes heritage markers featuring information on the historical role Sanford Avenue and the Georgetown neighborhood has played in Sanford’s history. The City also has a facade and rehabilitation program for building owners in the downtown area to facilitate private investment in the revitalization.
These changes have transformed the City’s downtown from a sleepy, historical site to a vibrant and enticing family-friendly destination. Visitors and residents can be seen seven days a week strolling the City’s downtown while enjoying the shops, boutiques, restaurants and pubs.The City of Sanford offers an array of engaging and unique dining opportunities as well as craft breweries and several other craft beer friendly establishments all within a pleasurable short walk of each other. A popular event held the second Thursday of each month, called Alive After Five, brings thousands more downtown for live music, local artists, food and craft beers. “Sanford’s investment in the downtown area has set the stage for numerous events and festivals,” says Triplett. “Downtown Sanford is an engaging place with an authentic and eclectic flavor.” Through the support of the (CRA) the City has created a partnership with Sanford’s Amtrak Auto Train to provide free round trip shuttle service for waiting passengers to visit and enjoy historic downtown as well as free round trip shuttle service from the Sanford SunRail station into historic downtown (shuttle coordinates with the Sanford SunRail station schedule Mon.-Fri. between 10am-3pm).
Lake Monroe, a 9,406-acre expanse of shining blue water, borders the City of Sanford on the north side. On breezy days, sailboats depart the Monroe Harbor Marina and dot the lake with their white sails and bright spinnakers. Pedestrians enjoy the palm-lined RiverWalk with its gazebos and swinging benches while fishermen sit near the water’s edge.
The completion of the $11.2 million RiverWalk in 2004 was one of Sanford’s biggest park improvement projects since the 1930s. The lakefront amenity features a 1.76 mile pedestrian path and the Gateway at RiverWalk, completed in 2007, a six-story residential development along the RiverWalk that includes luxurious million dollar townhomes, office space, restaurants as well as specialty retail shops. Sanford continued to expand on this unique amenity with RiverWalk Phase II, a $4.6 million dollar project completed in 2015. The expansion of Florida’s award-winning and internationally recognized RiverWalk is a dynamic City amenity built for all to enjoy. Fort Mellon Park, another waterfront feature of the City, is a showcase recreational facility with a unique and fun splash pad feature popular with residents and visitors. The park and adjacent Seminole Avenue provide additional scenic venue opportunities for large festivals and events.
Sanford’s transportation network is also a major quality of life asset, whether it is the City’s International Airport with a growing number of domestic and international destinations, easy access to Interstate 4 and the 417 Expressway or the Sanford SunRail commuter rail station, it is easy to get around Sanford and travel to the Metro-Orlando area and beyond. Visitors to Sanford also enjoy visiting Seminole County
For more information, please go to www.sanfordfl.gov