Sanford, MAINE – During a visit to Sanford today, Governor Janet Mills highlighted a new $34 million partnership between the City of Sanford and the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) that will revitalize the city’s downtown.
The Downtown Sanford Village Partnership Initiative will rehabilitate key infrastructure and enhance roads, sidewalks, and streetlights in Sanford’s commercial center. The investment will help to make downtown Sanford safer and more attractive for commercial and residential development, improve parking, and construct a much-needed Park & Ride facility for hundreds of residents that commute daily to work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.
The partnership is supported by federal funds including a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant made available by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and approximately $7.1 million in matching funds from the MaineDOT and the City of Sanford.
“Sanford has a long and proud history and a bright future, especially with investments like these,” said Governor Janet Mills. “The Downtown Sanford Village Partnership will attract the economic and housing development the city needs to thrive. My Administration will continue to work with municipalities to revitalize our rural downtowns.”
“This infrastructure investment in our downtown has been on the horizon for a long time. We welcome the opportunity to share our vision with Governor Mills and appreciate the Maine DOT partnership that made it a reality,” said Sanford Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio.
“We are pleased that MaineDOT’s work with the City of Sanford helped us secure new discretionary grant funding that will benefit the people who live, work, and travel here,” said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. “This is a great example of how collaboration and partnerships can lead to projects that can compete for and win grant funding to make once-in-a-generation investments in Maine communities.”
Sanford is one of several former Maine mill communities that has suffered from decades of disinvestment. City leaders have made significant progress in recent years to improve Sanford’s infrastructure, but challenges remain. Outdated roads and sidewalks make pedestrian travel unsafe and contribute to traffic challenges. Lack of parking and inadequate streetlighting pose a challenge to those looking to open or conduct business in the downtown commercial district.
Funding invested by the Downtown Sanford Village Partnership Initiative will enable the city to update streets, curbs, and sidewalks, make crosswalks more accessible, and construct parking spaces that can accommodate electric vehicles. The project will modernize utility ducts and improve drainage with modern stormwater filtration.
The project will also construct a new 80-spot Park & Ride facility between Main Street and Shawmut Avenue geared toward helping to improve carpool options for workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as well as other area employers. As of 2020, 524 Sanford and Springvale residents commuted to the Shipyard in Kittery. With limited parking options, Shipyard officials have specifically requested the development of the facility.
No other governor in Maine history has invested as much State funding in the Maine Department of Transportation as Governor Mills. While the MaineDOT’s operations are largely funded through the Highway Fund, Governor Mills signed a biennial budget that dedicated an additional $50 million in General Fund money – an unprecedented amount – to the Department for capital projects and stipulated that MaineDOT receive 20 percent of any unappropriated surplus at the end of the year. This is in addition to the estimated $2.4 billion in federal funding, including $1.6 billion for transportation improvements, Maine is expected to receive under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.