A significant milepost in the long process of bringing of a formal tourism program to the region, occurred in mid-September, with the first official meeting of the newly christened Sanford Tourism Development Authority. This group of 9 community leaders is tasked with managing funds that are generated by the new lodging tax for Lee County.
North Carolina’s General Assembly authorized the creation of this group in August 2017, concurrent with its introduction of a 3% occupancy tax for Sanford area hotels. By generating and managing this new financial windfall, area officials anticipate developing programs that will showcase the region and attract tourists, organizations and conventions to Sanford and Lee County. Two-thirds of the funds are allocated for area tourism, with the balance set aside for ongoing management of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Board members have been appointed for staggered terms ranging from 1-to-3 years, and represent key industries involved in tourism efforts, including hotels & hospitality, restaurants, real estate and local attractions. Individuals and affiliations of the members include —
- Donnie Oldham (Chair), Sanford Contractors
- Steve Brewer, The Flame Restaurant
- Kevin Brown, North Cole Pottery
- David Foster, Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center
- Erica Gunter, Comfort Suites
- Steve Malloy, Adcock & Associates Real Estate & Auction
- Angela Minnick, Holiday Inn Express
- P.J Patel, Hampton Inn
- Jeff Towson, Smoke & Barrel Restaurant