Despite major budget constraints and a weakening economy, Sanford broke ground on its Public Safety Complex, rebuilt Fort Mellon Park, and renovated the Westside Community Center in Goldsboro.
While civic projects were on the rise, property and business owners in Seminole’s private sector tried to carry on during an economic downturn.
Residents saw an increase in foreclosures and homelessness, while businesses struggled to stay afloat.
But the ecnomic news was not all bad. Seminole also saw major funding go towards renovating the Amtrak Auto Train station on Persimmon Avenue, as well as the approval of the SunRail commuter train.
Below is a review of Seminole’s news in 2009.
• Seminole Community College creates its first four-year degree, interior design.
• 1st Street renovation begins, a project funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency and Utility Department for more than $2 million.
• Sanford city manager Sherman Yehl’s request for a larger severance package is denied by the city commission.
• Sanford holds parade for the 2008 state high school football champions, Seminole High School’s fighting Noles.
• Seminole County continues to fight the City of Jacksonville to take water from the St. Johns River.
• President Obama takes office.
• Annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade is held in Goldsboro.
• The Amtrak shuttle, funded by the CRA, begins its daily route between the Auto Train station and downtown Sanford.
• CRA starts rehabilitation loan subsidy program to help building owners downtown fund restoration projects.
• Crappie Masters Tournament is held along Lake Monroe.
• The Sanford Police Department purchase a T3 electric vehicle patrol downtown Sanford and historic district.
• Kid’s Fishing Rodeo is held in conjunction with Crappie Masters Tournament.
• Architect Jerry Mills discovers old painted sign inside city’s former jail on Palmetto Avenue.
• Citizens complain during a series of public meetings held over new code enforcement ordinances proposed by the city.
• Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute finds lost dolphin in Lake Monroe, returns it to Intracoastal Waterway near Titusville.
• In a state-of-the-county address, Seminole County Commission Chairman Bob Dallari announces the county expects to lose about $35 million from upcoming year’s budget.
• Homeowner in Mayfair neighborhood shoots an intruder in the face after a string of home burglaries in Sanford.
• Delta Connection Academy plane crashes west of S.R. 415 in Deltona killing two students.
• Sanford Seminole Art Association turns 50.
• Excitement about SunRail increases, more public comments and plans are being made for its start.
• Greater Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce holds the 2nd annual Beer Wine and Martini Stroll.
• Commissioners pass a new set of code enforcement ordinances for the city.
• Four women arrested for “flashing” at The Barn during a visit from “Girls Gone Wild.”
• Celery Soup Masquerade Ball is held: airport president Larry Dale and Mickey Searcy are named celery king and queen.
• Midges descend on Sanford’s lakefront covering buildings downtown.
• White House announces $10.5 million of stimulus money will go to reconstructing the Amtrak Auto Train station on Persimmon Avenue.
• Budget work sessions begin for Seminole County Public Schools.
• U.S. Postal Service closes district office on Rinehart Road in Lake Mary.
• Herbie Hancock the rooster mysteriously temporarily disappears from the breezeway at Two Blondes & a Shrimp restaurant.
• The Downtown Business Watch group starts holding meetings.
• Family Dollar on 1st Street catches on fire and requires more than three hours for the fire department to put out.
• Sanford Police Department appoints Seminole County’s first woman sergeant, Cynthia Littles.
• Herbie Hancock the rooster returns just as mysteriously as he left.
• Park on Park reopens with new playground equipment.
• Seminole County is given the OK to remove water from the St. Johns River after a long battle with the City of Jacksonville.
• Earth Day event held at 18th Street Park.
• Gardens in the Park event held for first time, giving Sanford a garden tour again.
• Sanford’s foreclosures continue to increase and residents begin to complain about squatters in vacant homes.
• City of Sanford announces it will charge $2 fee for use of the new splash pad in Fort Mellon Park.
• Sanford Senior Center celebrates 20th anniversary.
• Sanford Student Museum named one of Florida’s endangered historic sites.
• Sanford Historic Trust gives out preservation awards.
• ZOOmAir, a treetop obstacle course, opens at Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
• Commissioners reach long-awaited compromise with business owners over enacted sign ordinance.
• Orlando Sanford International Airport opens a new set of retail shops in terminal.
• Officials break ground on $10.5 million rehabilitation of Amtrak’s Auto Train station.
• City of Sanford unveils the nation’s first municipal gasification system, which turns waste into power.
• Sanford starts new events hotline.
• City holds the first of several public meetings for a Police Community Relations Study.
• City opens newly renovated Fort Mellon Park with largest splash pad in Central Florida.
• City opens newly renovated Westside Community Center in Goldsboro, a $2.3 million project.
• A family of four, the Woods, are found dead in their home in a murder-suicide, marking the first recession-based tragedy for the area.
• Former Seminole High School student Johnathan Platero competes on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”
• Seminole County’s consideration to turn public libraries over to a private contractor causes problems with residents.
• Sanford breaks ground on $20 million Public Safety Complex on the corner of 13th Street and Lake Avenue.
• City celebrates Star Spangled Sanford on the Fourth of July.
• City holds “day of dialogue” with citizens as the final meeting in the Police Community Relations Study.
• CRA agrees to fund downtown Christmas lights, since the luxury will not be included in city’s public works budget.
• City budget workshops continue, leading commissioners to wonder whether they will need to raise taxes, fire employees or dip into reserves.
• 1st Street reopens with an all-day celebration.
• Magician Harry Wise, a lifelong Sanford resident also known as Mr. Magic, delivers his final show in Magnolia Square during 1st Street reopening.
• Seminole continues budget discussions.
• A Sanford budget disagreement leads to the resignation of City Manager Sherman Yehl. Commissioners appoint public works director Tom George interim city manager.
• Sanford is included on a list of Amtrak passenger stops that will be reinstated through funding from the federal stimulus package.
• Sanford’s Willow Tree Café is included in running for the top German restaurants in the country.
• Consultant Andrew Thomas delivers the results of the Police Community Relation Study to commissioners.
• Seminole County Health Department announces it expects up to 60 deaths from swine flu H1N1 virus during the winter season.
• School begins. The Student Museum rings in the new school year with the repaired Sanford Herald Restoration Bell.
• Sanford commissioners solve the budget crisis with a new plan from interim city manager Tom George to take money from reserves.
• University of Central Florida Incubator program opens downtown in the Welaka Building thanks to funding from the CRA.
• Gracie the Chihuahua is made official mascot of Sanford Police Department.
• City receives COPS grant that pays for the salaries of seven additional police officers for three years.
• County rejects proposed stormwater fee after hundreds of residents speak against the fee during a public hearing.
• Sanford Police Department starts listing crimes on crimemapping.com.
• City commissioners begin to draft an ordinance that would define and prohibit “aggressive panhandling.”
• County commissioners approve a new budget with a millage increase.
• Seminole Community College changes its name to Seminole State College of Florida.
• City commissioners approve a 15 percent water- and sewer-rate increase.
• Law enforcement agents raid a Sanford doctor’s office to investigate prescription fraud.
• Greater Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce holds the 4th annual Bike Fest: Thunder in the Streets.
• Community Improvement director Trevor Hampton resigns from his position at city hall, Deputy Police Chief Darrel Presley is appointed interim director.
• The number of homeless students is determined to be more than 1,000.
• New fiscal year means city employees must take three weeks of furloughs throughout year.
• Seminole County receives its first shipment of the H1N1 swine flu vaccination.
• County Manager Cindy Coto resigns after budget disputes with county commissioners.
• Bear encounters in the county increase and a man in Heathrow is attacked after startling a bear by his garbage cans.
• IDignity is put on by local homeless-prevention group, Seminole Action Coalition Serving Our Needy.
• Seminole State College of Florida opens $17.6 million Center for Public Safety.
• Budget cuts force Seminole’s annual marching band festival to stop after 32 years.
• Lake Mary Heathrow Festival of the Arts is held in Heathrow.
• Willow Tree Café is named 2nd best German restaurant in the nation.
• Sanford’s first career criminal is sentenced to 15 years after the implementation of the C.R.O.P. Program.
• The president of the Seminole County Repertory Company, Derek Powell, resigns after conflicts over casting.
• Seminole County commissioners award a $40.6 million contract to construct a treatment plant at Yankee Lake that will take up to 5.5 million gallons of water from the St. Johns River every day.
• The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens premiers an Internet commercial in hopes of raising attendance.
• Controversy ensues after Seminole State College president E. Ann McGee announces she will retire, only to be rehired.
• The Alley, a blues bar in downtown Sanford, closes.
• Magician and Sanford resident Harry Wise dies at 75.
• Sanford holds its annual Christmas parade and tree lighting.
• Sanford Historic Trust holds the 21st annual Holiday Tour of Homes.
• Orlando Sanford International Airport loses 10 of its Allegiant flights to Orlando International Airport.
• The Alley, a blues bar downtown, reopens during Alive After 5 with a new name – The Wire.
• The Seminole County Health department makes H1N1 swine flu vaccinations available to everyone, not just school-aged children.
• Nick Pfeifauf, veteran newsman and former reporter for The Sanford Herald, dies at 77.
• Museum of Seminole County History holds the 20th annual St. Lucia Festival honoring Sanford’s Swedish settlers.
• Crooms Academy of Information Technology is awarded a third silver medal from U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of America’s Best High Schools.
• The Sanford Police Department updates its website to include Sanford’s 10 most wanted.
• Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announces manatee deaths were at an all-time high for 2009.