Sanford land deal facing delays



SANFORD, Fla. - A neglected piece of land in one of Sanford's oldest neighborhoods could get an overhaul.

The city wants the land, owned by the Seminole County School District, to expand its parks system.

The property at the corner of Mellonville and Celery avenues is nothing but weeds and old concrete.

A deal to put it into the city's hands keeps getting delayed.

City leaders are worried they could miss their chance to make it happen.

There's a big "for sale" sign at the corner. The city of Sanford wants to take it over before someone with a higher offer does.

Right next to the historic baseball stadium and in the shadow of the city's water tower, the lot could be the next extension of Sanford's park system.

"It really hasn't been kept up to the standard we'd like to see," Mayor Jeff Triplett said.

Triplett said the city has been working to acquire the overgrown property for four months.

Plans show ball fields, a playground and a fitness trail.

"That's a good idea. More people get to play the sports they love, more activities," said Sanford resident Zac Holbrook.

Even though it's all public land, the Seminole County School District hasn't signed an agreement yet.

District leaders hoped to make $1 million on the land to help make up for years of budget cuts.

"I think it's taking a little bit longer because we want it to be beneficial to both sides," Triplett said.

The city of Sanford wants to lease the property for as little as a dollar per year.

Residents said since it's already owned by taxpayers, it should be put to use.

"Development is always good. It always helps out the community in some way, shape or form," Holbrook said.

As part of the plans, the mayor hopes to change the abandoned building into a community center to serve the Georgetown neighborhood in the city's east side.