Mahany: Time for city to revisit relationship with Welcome Center

Sanford City Commissioner Patty Mahany says city officials were snubbed by the Sanford Welcome Center recently when the nonprofit group failed to notify City Hall that of a ceremony honoring Orange County Sheriff Jerry Deming.

Mahany is calling for the city commission to revisit the city's agreement with the Welcome Center.

According to Mahany, the group hosted a ceremony for Deming and Orange County deputies to honor that agency's officers who died in the line of duty. The ceremony took place in the city-owned courtyard next to the Welcome Center, and in front of murals of the fallen officers waited by artist Jeff Sonksen.

"It just absolutely burns me up that we were not notified of the event,"Mahany told her fellow commissioners at the close of a budget meeting on Wednesday, July 19. "I was a little embarrassed (that city officials weren't invited)."

The Welcome Center is a nonprofit group that rents the city-owned historic post office, located at the northwest corner of 1st Street and Palmetto Avenue. The group's mission is "to enrich the Sanford experience by serving as a communications hub; operating as a welcome center to provide education and information, marketing Sanford as an arts, culture, recreation and historic destination."

"They're acting like they are operating like this autonomous thing over there in a building they pay $1 a month for. We provide them with all sorts of other things including power and water," Mahany said. "If they can welcome the Orange County Sheriff, then they should welcome us."

Deputy city manager Tom George said other issues have arisen recently. For instance, he said the Welcome Center is supposed to get permission from the city to use the courtyard. He also noted that the group is supposed to give an annual report to the city commission, which hasn't happen for several years.

George said he would contact the Welcome Center to set up a meeting with the city commission.