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.




  1. I agree not necessarily just because of Pattys stance although I do agree but also because of the position The Welcome Center holds, they should be our liaison with the community and the city making us one United unified community we should always review and reevaluate the performance of any public subsidized entity let’s all work together to make Sanford the best it can be


  2. The assumption here is that the Welcome Center was involved and/or planned the event, but from what I hear, that may not be the case–they should have been asked before this story was published, were they? In any case, how surprising is it that a politician who rarely shows their face at any downtown Sanford events is a bit but put out because they were not on the 5 PM news? I see two of our city commissioners at many, many local events, but not this one. Sounds like sour grapes to me…..


  3. The facts are all wrong. This was not an event even known by the Welcome Center. Ms. Mahany needs to publish a public apology to the Historic Sanford Welcome Center!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an amazing demonstration of what is wrong with this country in general and this city in particular. Firstly Dan Ping, although you have expressed an apology this entire nasty sequence of events is squarely upon your shoulders and I hope you do the right thing by personally directing an apology to Jeff, the artist, who gives his time and exceptional artistic ability that makes and leaves such a positive impression upon visitors and residents of Sanford who are fortunate to view his art. The Welcome Center, whose board consists entirely of unpaid volunteers, has done an absolutely fantastic job of contributing to a positive image of our city and now their good works are overshadowed and tarnished due to an overzealous writer. Did you, Dan, contact anyone with the Welcome Center Board and/or the artist before publishing this damaging article? If not, SHAME ON YOU!
    Patty Mahany, did you bother to contact the Welcome Center Board and/or the artist to verify the article as being factually based prior to your unfounded social media rant? I’m waiting to see your retraction and apology to those affected. Your words Patty are damaging to the hard work and reputation of those who labor for the best interests of this city: “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.” This article also sullies the memories of the fallen officers and most assuredly has fostered bad feelings on the part of the families of the officers being honored.
    The City Commission should deal with this immediately and openly. Who is now going to take it upon themselves to repair this unnecessary damage to “our Welcome Center”?

    My heart goes out to Jeff, the artist, and the old saying “No good deed goes unpunished” certainly appears to apply. Thank you Jeff for all that you do for our city and I for one applaud you for your efforts and amazing talent that you use for us. I am so sorry that you have been unnecessarily caught up in this political mess.


  5. Correction…..I asked Patty Mahany if she bothered to check prior to her social media rant….my error I meant to say prior to your rant in a public commission forum that appeared in a published article on this site.


  6. I didn’t make a rant in a public commission forum. Commissioner Mahany did. That’s the reason I wrote about it. But sure put the blame on me jackass.


  7. I did not say that you did!!! Once again the old “knee jerk” reaction Dan. If you had been kind enough to read what I said, then you wouldn’t have made a fool of yourself, again. I was correcting my comments directed to Patty Mahany when I indicated that I had erroneously mentioned her “social media rant” rather it was in a public commission forum. This had nothing to do with you Dan and I resent your characterization of me in your last entry. Name calling is obviously your last resort!


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