Sanford is a city located in central Florida, about 20 miles northeast of Orlando, and is the county seat of Seminole County. As of the 2010 census, Sanford had a population of nearly 54,000. Known as the “Historic Waterfront Gateway City,” it sits on the southern shore of Lake Monroe at the head of navigation on the St. Johns River.
Sanford retains a significant collection of older commercial and residential architecture, on streets shaded by live oaks hung with Spanish moss. Its location on Lake Monroe and access to the navigable waterway of the St. Johns River has made it Central Florida’s additional center for numerous marinas, allowing access for pleasure boats and commercial vessels to and from the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway via Jacksonville and Mayport to the north.
Sanford is home to Seminole State College of Florida, as well as the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Its downtown attracts tourists with shops, restaurants, a marina, and a lakefront walking trail. The city completed multimillion-dollar streetscapes of 1st Street and Sanford Avenue in its historic downtown, using brick pavers, creating wider sidewalks, and adding trees, flowers, and benches.
The Orlando Sanford International Airport, located in the heart of town, functions as the secondary commercial airport for international and domestic carriers in the Orlando metropolitan area. Sanford is connected to the central Florida commuter railway SunRail, with the station 2 miles from the downtown.
Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium is located south of Lake Monroe on Mellonville Avenue. It stands near the site of the old Sanford Field, originally built in 1926. Sanford Field is the location where Jackie Robinson first took to the field in 1946 to play baseball as a member of a white Class AAA International League Team in Daytona Beach, Florida, which was partnered with the Montreal Royals. The new stadium was built in 1951 as the spring training facility of the New York Giants.
Sanford made international news in 2012, when George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was charged with murder for Martin’s death but was acquitted at trial on grounds of self-defense.
The Sanford Economy
Agriculture was the prime economic driver of Sanford through the first half of the 20thcentury, due to the easy cultivation of produce in the area’s frost-free environment. The opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 shifted the economy of Central Florida away from agriculture, military installations, defense/aerospace industries, and the NASA manned and unmanned space programs, and further towards tourism, service industries, and residential development.
Sanford’s RiverWalk trail is a bike/walk/run trail that spans several miles along the waterfront of Lake Monroe. Phase Three of the RiverWalk is expected to be complete by 2020. The city launched a redesigned city government website in 2012, as part of its “Imagine Sanford” campaign.
The median income for a household in the city of Sanford is $43,470. The per capita income for the city is $20,588. Nearly 19 percent of the population falls below the poverty line.
Drugs in Seminole County and the State
More than 20 people were arrested in n December 2017 as part of a drug case that spanned a nine-month investigation that involved the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, firearms, and money were seized in the operation. Agents believe the suspects had been importing 25 to 30 kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin into central Florida every month.
There were 51 overdoses and four documented deaths in 2015 and 116 overdoses and 12 documented deaths the following year in Seminole County. Deputies said that from January to November of 2017 there had been 213 overdoses and 34 documented deaths. Narcan was used more than 100 times in 2017 to save lives from fatal drug overdoses.
Responses to the opioid crisis are taking place at the state level. A law signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March 2018 sets aside more than $50 million for enhanced opioid treatment, law enforcement response, and supplies of a life-saving overdose reversal drug. It is Florida’s first piece of legislation to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The state of Florida prescribes 10 times more oxycodone pills than all other states combined, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Put another way, no less than 85 percent of oxy pills sold in the U.S. come from Florida.