A Community Design Workshop was held today at the Sanford Civic Center to brainstorm the communities’ thoughts and ideas for the future development of Downtown Sanford and the Waterfront Catalyst Site. Over 75 “Sanfordites” filled the Civic Center. The day kicked off with introductions of the development team and background information on the catalyst site project, followed by slide presentations by Victor Dover of Dover Kohl and Partners, Richard Heisenbottle of R.J. Heisenbottle Architects and Andrew Dolkart of Miami Economic Associates. The team spoke about the history, growth, architectural and historic context and economic feasibility of redevelopment in Downtown Sanford. 


The enthusiasm in the room and momentum of the master planning exercise today resulted in a very productive and collaborative session filled with presentations, design sketches, input and feedback. A series of tables were set up in the main auditorium for break out groups to work together with facilitators and draw their ideas and vision on large scale site plans for the future of Sanford.  One example of the community design sketch that resulted can be seen below. Ideas were collected and shared with the group at large during a discussion session that followed. The design team then synthesized the captured ideas into a composite map for the catalyst site and surrounding areas. The doors remained opened for participants to view the progress, as well as, for new visitors to join in on the workshop that were not able to attend earlier in the day.


Victor Dover, planner and urban designer, said “Now is the perfect time and the catalyst site is the perfect place to extend the revitalization that has been underway in Sanford for a generation. “Buildings on these blocks will frame the street scenes that reconnect downtown’s walkable main street to the waterfront.”


Richard Heisenbottle, development partner and design architect, termed the redevelopment of the catalyst site as the “Restoration of Downtown Sanford.”  “Community engagement is the cornerstone of any effective revitalization effort and must be an early ingredient in the Sanford vision for a vibrant Downtown”.


“This charrette approach provided hands-on opportunities for Sanford residents, community members, organizations and government representatives to prioritize issues and propose solutions,” said Venny Torre, development partner and President/CEO of Torre Companies. “This way we have a diverse insight into what the community would like to see happen on the catalyst site and it guides us as we develop the master plan.”


The project is being led by Torre Companies and R.J. Heisenbottle Architects in collaboration with Dover Kohl and Partners to develop a contextual and feasible master plan for presentation at the Work in Progress Presentation to follow in approximately three months followed by a final presentation to the City Commission in August 2016.