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Old 05-20-2007, 09:03 AM
 
2 posts, read 8,739 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariGirl View Post
I am not sure how Sanford has suddenly been designated as a "high crime area" on this forum. But as a long-time resident, I can tell you this is just not true. The murder rate in 2005 was high, but if you look at the historical data for previous years, you'll see that in several other years it was much lower. Also, if you look at all categories of crime and compare them to other similar sized cities or counties in the state, you'll find that Sanford is actually lower in some of those categories.
Is there crime in Sanford/Lee County? Of course, just like all other towns. Are people running around shooting each other in the street and residents are afraid to leave their homes? Of course not!! Most of the crime is confined to one part of town - again, like most places. In all the years I've lived here I and my family have never been afraid to go and do all the things I/we need and want to do, day or night. I'm no more or less cautious here than I would be anywhere. We live in a lovely, safe neighborhood, and there are quite a few of those to be found in Sanford. So, to reassure you the best thing to say is come on down and see for yourself.
So, Marigirl would you say that Sanford is a good place for senior living, the reason I ask is that my father in law is looking to more closer to us - we are in NJ and he is in West Palm Beach, FL?? We are looking for something low priced in NC area that would be good for all us - us for visiting, as he will be living alone, and he needs a small home/condo - near hospital etc. Thanks in Advance for you opinion.
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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There are a fair number of seniors here and there seem to be a good number of activities geared to that age group. How old is your father-in-law? Is he active and what are his interests?
The first community in the Sanford area (Lee County) that comes to mind is Carolina Trace. It's on the far south end of town and is a large (1000 homes) gated community that has alot of retirees. Homes of all sizes and price ranges can be found there It's primarily golf-oriented but there are other organized activities as well within the development. The website is www.carolinatrace.com.
There are a couple of other neighborhoods in town that come to mind (non-gated) but nice. Westlake Downs on the northwest side of Sanford has a section called Churchill Downs, comprised of very nice but small homes that appeal to seniors. All lawn maintenance is provided as part of their HOA dues for that section. There is a new neighborhood opening called (I think) Heritage Pointe - it's also on the northwest side of Sanford and appears to be smaller nice homes with grounds maintenance provided. Hampton Ponds (also same vicinity) is established and appears to be similar concept to Heritage Pointe. These last 3 are much smaller than Carolina Trace. Sanford has a wonderful Enrichment Center that provides a variety of programs for seniors both educational and social. My parents enjoyed going there for some of the activities.
Another town(s) to consider is the Southern Pines/Whispering Pines/Pinehurst area in Moore County. This is about 20 miles south of Sanford and has a large senior population. Extremely nice area though can be pricier than Sanford. Good medical care can be found in both counties, but Moore has the edge when it comes to the hospital - First Health Moore Regional is a top-notch facility as is the Pinehurst Surgical Center. If you search a bit you can find recent threads on here for the Southern Pines area as well.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:22 AM
 
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Thanks for your help and advice.
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Old 05-28-2007, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Sanford, NC
635 posts, read 1,753,095 times
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Thumbs up We love Sanford, and came from the "big city"

Well, where to start.... OK, first, we are recent arrivals in Sanford, and have owned our house here for a little over a year, and lived in town for about 8 months now.

We moved out from San Jose, CA to Cary, NC where we rented for a year and looked around before buying. We, all 5 of us, had lived in a 954 sqft 2BR/1BA 1941 bungalow, and needed to "upgrade" desperately. But the housing in the Bay Area was just insane, so we looked to NC where my employer had another HQ location in RTP.

Cary of course has been rated in the top 10(Money, Fortune, etc) of mid-sized cities for the last few years, so we knew we couldn't go wrong renting there, but soon found that Cary had its own issues and was a bit too bland and "picture perfect" for our tastes(no offense to those enamored with Cary )

But Cary has been growing like mad, obviously, and over the last decade land is now becoming scarce unless you want to be part of a development. So as our search area widened, we ran across smaller cities like Pittsboro, Oxford, Garner, etc.... and Sanford.

Actually, Sanford was something of a chance encounter for us, as we hadn't even heard of it. We had been looking at a nice Georgian Revival from the 1930s in Oxford, and probably were close to making an offer when we got cold feet... for a number of reasons(although Oxford is a neat place too).

So I was looking through one of those freebie real estate books, and saw a little postage stamp sized photo of the house we ended up buying here in Sanford, and have been renovating since last Spring.

BTW, this is our horrendously outdated website for the house(too busy actually working on the house, etc instead of updating the site):

Lewis D. Isenhour House




We came down and checked out the house a few times, checked out the old downtown area, which has been on an upswing over the last decade unlike some old towns, and met several prospective neighbors... and loved the place.

...so that's our story how we got here


We are a relatively young family with three young children, and although never were "party animal" types, did certainly enjoy what a big city could offer. That being said, we really love Sanford, and have not felt any major impact of "culture shock".... although it is different than living in the Bay Area, or even Cary, just by definition.

So what do we think?

Well, as pointed out earlier in this thread, Sanford is not Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, or even Southern Pines. It is a small city, and to go see something more "cosmopolitan" or have a vast selection of malls and chain stores or restaurants... you will have to drive 30-50 minutes depending.

BUT, Sanford is not a dead end town. If you don't mind a slightly slower pace, where you have everything you really need, but occasionally have to take a short trip for big town stuff(and big town traffic, etc)... then Sanford might be for you.

Sanford is conveniently almost smack-dab in the middle of the State, and almost equidistant from Raleigh/Durham/Chapel-Hill, Greensboro, and Fayetteville.

And as mentioned, it is very close to Southern Pines, which if you are a golfer, is apparently golf heaven... and with some very snazzy and expensive golf focused housing as well.

And, Sanford has a very active downtown association: Downtown Sanford, INC. | Sanford, North Carolina

...and several new(about 10 years old) local and national historic residential districts, all of which are primed for "ground floor" investment, where in contrast, historic districts in Raleigh are now "mature" and command upwards of a million $$ for some homes.

If you dig through the website above, you can find out much about Sanford's history, and how the city has been growing and investing where many smaller cities have fallen into decline.

Sanford is the type of town where you can be downtown one minute, and literally in 5 minutes be in the countryside with barns and rolling pasture.

We really like Sanford, and because of its relative small size have gotten to know many neighbors, and get involved in community efforts/organizations right away. And heck, where else can you have the mayor wave at you across a restaurant because she saw you attend a city committee meeting

In my opinion Sanford is relatively blue collar, and many might even say it is unsophisticated, but that's not quite accurate. I'm sure some might disagree with this characterization, but I think that Sanford's history of railroad, mills, and mining give the town its character, and a hometown feel that more "sophisticated" cities might lack and hence feel less personal.

As far as schools, we have found the schools to be quite good considering the size of the city/county. Sanford has built a new elementary recently, and is building and renovating several new schools over the next couple years. Also, Sanford has rehabilitated/restored two old schools(Wicker School and Clairmont Green), turning one into a business center and one into upscale condos. The latter is in our historic district, and is a real gem.

We do find that the schools seem to be a bit behind on some topics as compared to what the kids were learning in CA for example, but nothing dramatic or to be concerned about. They seem to be on par with what the Wake County schools in Cary were covering.

But we do have typical private schools, and a montessori school as well.


Also, a question of crime was brought up. This is a hard one for me to simply say yea or nay, not because Sanford is crime ridden, but because of our location and past experience in other cities.

First, Sanford does not have a crime problem. From our experience, Sanford is very average, and no one here is afraid to walk down the neighborhood or downtown streets at night. In fact, it is very common for people to take strolls downtown or in our community.

But we have had some crime issues in our neighborhood, mostly because our neighborhood is somewhat "urban" and right near downtown, some motels, and busy streets. So we've had some issues with theft, prostitutes, general disturbances, loitering, speeding, etc... but nothing that one wouldn't see in a similar neighborhood.

In fact, we lived in a similar neighborhood in San Jose, just blocks from downtown. San Jose doesn't have a crime "problem" but we had almost identical issues in our historic "urban" neighborhood there, and worse.

So if you were to move to one of the older urban neighborhoods in Sanford, or frankly any city, you may have some increased crime issues. But Sanford as a whole seems very typical for its size, etc.


So to sum it up, we really like Sanford. Love it or hate it, we are getting an uber-Wal-Mart shortly, have a Lowes, and several new auto dealerships. And the city is growing with Cary ever expanding and the BRAC bringing more and more folks to Fort Bragg.

I think that Sanford's 40 minutes from Cary will prevent it from really growing huge or fast, but at the same time, it's proximity to Raleigh, etc will no doubt continue to bring residents looking to escape the city and look for affordable cost of living. So I think it will only continue to get better.

If I were looking for housing, I would certainly at least check Sanford out and see if it might be for you.

Cheers, and good luck.

Al
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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Al - Great post on Sanford! Having lived here for what seems like forever, it is nice to get a newer resident's perspective. I've seen the house you bought many times, and have always admired many of the homes in that area. Just not brave enough to take on a major renovation...keeping up our much newer house is enough of a challenge! You definitely got a good one. Being close to downtown you will experience a few more crime related issues than elsewhere in town. But, I believe there is a pretty tight knit historic district neighborhood watch group that really looks out for each other, so you may want to ask some of the neighbors about it.

I agree with pretty much everything you have to say about Sanford. It is a place where you quickly become a part of the community. That is truly what's kept us here for so long. We're not native southerners, but have been made to feel a part of things from day 1. I also find Cary terribly bland these days. It used to be a somewhat interesting, fun place to go, but it has become so cookie cutter and congested that the appeal escapes me. It could be Anywhere USA at this point, but that seems to be what some people like.. Southern Pines/Pinehurst draw me much more the past couple years for restaurants and shopping, along with the fact that they're beautiful towns.

Just to clarify about the Sanford schools. There are actually 4 fairly new elementary schools, and a new middle school is currently under construction and will be ready for the '08 school year. We too were especially happy with the elementary schools and felt very connected. Hope you'll get a chance to attend some of the Depot Park summer concerts downtown. I believe the first one is next week and they're free. The kids would love the old steam engine and fountain, and Yarborough's homemade ice cream. Welcome to the Brick City!
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Sanford, NC
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Thanks MariGirl

I think I am about to head slightly off-topic, but think it might be an interesting snapshot of a Sanford community for those interested

We are indeed very happy with the house, its local historic significance, and neighborhood as well. The house is coming along, and will be painted by July. We spent the first 6ish months living in our basement, all 5 of us if you can imagine. And we just moved "upstairs" a couple months ago once the major stuff was done. But we've still got loads to do. But that's OK. It's an adventure.

Several of the houses, including our home(albeit still under construction), were slated to be on the Lee County Centennial tour, but I'm not sure if that is still coming together.

We'll have had about 6 houses painted in the last year in the neighborhood(Rosemount-McIver), and more houses continue to get snapped up and renovated. Over time, the transformation from what was a run-down district as recently as the late 90s will soon make those days hard to imagine

There are lots of homes on the market in our neighborhoods right now actually, some already redone, others a bargain and a diamond in the rough. But with the State of NC giving owners a 30% tax credit(not deduction, a dollar for dollar credit) for renovation of homes in the historic district, it's really a slam dunk. Plus when you are finished, one has a unique home, and one that's made from materials and craftsmanship that is really hard to find anymore.


An example of one home:

Preservation North Carolina: Historic Properties Emporium - James C. Williams House (broken link)



And indeed, we are very active with the Historic Preservation Commission, and although there currently isn't a neighborhood watch program, this(safety and security) is one of the ad-hoc committees we've created to address issues of crime and specifically traffic/speeding on Gulf and Vance.

The other committees will be addressing the historic guidelines, neighborhood plaques/signage. I also just am setting up our first "group buy" for individual bronze historic house plaques. So that is very exciting.

We hope to get an real neighborhood watch program started, maybe reduce the speed on Gulf, etc... Mayor Olive is very keen on promoting these old neighborhoods, as many have finally realized the gem and asset they are to the community. So we are really hopeful that things will only get better.

But it is true that all the neighbors informally keep a close eye on who is around, what is going on, etc. And so far this has been effective as well. I started a Yahoo discussion group for all the historic neighborhoods, and along with all the typical benefits, we've found it is also a good way to get the word out on any problems like crime, etc. If interested, here is the group:

historic-sanford-nc : Historic Sanford North Carolina

We are hoping to get a neighborhood association started at some point as well.


As an interesting aside, studies have actually shown that one of the greatest deterrents to crime is simply having neighbors and families "out front", saying hello, making eye contact, and being seen. It seems that one unforeseen negative side-effect of Suburbia was that people stopped "playing" and visiting out front, and instead moved these activities out into the back yard. This gave the impression, sometimes correct, that the neighbors weren't really aware of what was happening on their block And this is how the sad but true cliche of "afternoon moving van" showing up and cleaning a family home out came to pass as criminals took advantage of this growing isolation(ironic since many of the homes are right on top of each other) and apathy.

But when people are out on their porches, waving, greeting people, etc... the opportunistic criminal is much less likely to take advantage of that bicycle sitting in the front yard unattended since everyone will be taking notes



....so, I seem to hijacked this thread a bit, being very specific about my neighborhood, its activities, etc My apologies.

BUT, for those reading through my meandering tome, I hope that it provides a small glimpse of all the activity, news, and excitement that is going on in "little ole" Sanford... in just one of its neighborhoods

And do indeed take a minute to check out our downtown area. The next phase of the downtown beautification and rehab has just kicked off, which will build on the success of our State wide award winning Depot Park and historic Railroad House museum.

Also on the way is a restoration of the historic Endor iron furnace, and a green belt that will include a state park extending toward the downtown heart of Sanford.

Again, for those interested, I would really encourage checking out the Downtown Sanford webpage and browse through the history, projects, etc. Sanford has a lot to offer, and I think a very positive vision that many other small cities sometimes seem to lack.

Sanford likely isn't for everyone, but if you like a small town feel that is only a hop-skip and jump from the "big city", then its worth checking out.

Al
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Sanford, NC
635 posts, read 1,753,095 times
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More concisely, here are some useful Sanford links:

Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce

http://www.sanfordnc.net/

Downtown Sanford, INC. | Sanford, North Carolina

Lee County (NC) Economic Development | Research Triangle Region

Home Page
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Blacksburg, VA
823 posts, read 2,625,032 times
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Al,

That's a wonderful house. I'm glad that you are enjoying your new town. We will have to check out the historic homes in Sanford after we move to NC.

Thanks,
Alice
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:09 AM
 
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Hello,

I thought I would update this statement as I live in McCracken Heights.

"McCracken Heights just off of Hawkins Avenue in Northeast Sanford, has a mix of older (1950's) well built brick homes, and newer (<3 yrs) non-brick. It's a pretty neighborhood with several ponds and tons of trees and azaleas. Needs a little TLC, but a good choice in that price range." ($125,000...)

The price range for a home in McCracken Heights was $125,000 - six years ago. As of today we have three homes for sale in our subdivision, two are brick ranches, built in the early 1950's (one single story that faces the ponds and one bi-level), and one exquisite Cape Cod built in 1936. The prices range between $150,000 and $160,000, which is the going rate for both older and newer homes (in the 2000+ square foot range) within our subdivision.

McCracken Heights is a great small neighborhood, certainly we have a few homes that need more TLC than others, but then again all neighborhoods have their issues. If you are looking for a home with hardwood floors, a fireplace, formals, a basement, large bedrooms and an even larger lot be sure to check us out.

Bess
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Sanford, NC
635 posts, read 1,753,095 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bess View Post
Hello,

I thought I would update this statement as I live in McCracken Heights.

"McCracken Heights just off of Hawkins Avenue in Northeast Sanford, has a mix of older (1950's) well built brick homes, and newer (<3 yrs) non-brick. It's a pretty neighborhood with several ponds and tons of trees and azaleas. Needs a little TLC, but a good choice in that price range." ($125,000...)

The price range for a home in McCracken Heights was $125,000 - six years ago. As of today we have three homes for sale in our subdivision, two are brick ranches, built in the early 1950's (one single story that faces the ponds and one bi-level), and one exquisite Cape Cod built in 1936. The prices range between $150,000 and $160,000, which is the going rate for both older and newer homes (in the 2000+ square foot range) within our subdivision.

McCracken Heights is a great small neighborhood, certainly we have a few homes that need more TLC than others, but then again all neighborhoods have their issues. If you are looking for a home with hardwood floors, a fireplace, formals, a basement, large bedrooms and an even larger lot be sure to check us out.

Bess

An interesting bit of trivia....

The architect that designed his home was one of the early developers/builders in McCraken Heights and built his personal tudor revival home there.

Al
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