SANFORD – I am back in Maine! After four and a half years in D.C. and Philadelphia as nanny-grammy to my son’s two children, I have returned to Sanford. I am now nanny-grammy to my daughter’s 18-month-old daughter. I walk the town with my granddaughter in her stroller, eager to rediscover my old neighborhood.

No. 1 Pond is, of course, a favorite route. I am delighted to see that the bank along Oscar Emery Drive has been walled in, the pond dredged, the duck problem under control and benches and picnic tables strategically placed. Breezes lift off the water and the pond is serene.

But what prompts dog walkers to ignore their dog’s poo or, almost worse, to bag it and then toss the bag under the nearest bench or bush? One day I counted six “piles” and four bags. I know the rule is carry in/carry out, but maybe trash barrels are in order.

Uptown, Thomas Goodall’s statue still stands stolid in Central Park — a tribute to Sanford’s milltown history. A swing through the Midtown Mall reveals that the walkway dedicated to Gary Sullivan, a longtime friend and neighbor who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis this past winter, is under construction. And now a grant for a park just a stone’s throw away at the head of No. 1 Pond has been obtained.

My granddaughter laughs and points as we stop to inspect the water rushing over the dam next to the site. It’s a great spot for a park; I look forward to seeing what will be done with the mill buildings.

To my surprise, the Goodwill store is gone from the mall. The store always seemed busy, a Sanford institution. Instead, two pawnshops and one payday loan company have sprung up in a six-block radius. Does this have significance?

Another favorite walk includes a pass through the Soldiers and Sailors Park at the foot of Prescott Street. It grew wild when I last lived in Sanford. My children called it “Sleepy Hollow” and like to think it was haunted.

My granddaughter and I enjoy the wooded stroll from Lebanon Street, part of the Urban Walk Trails, then proceed to the Little League Park on Kimball Street. I am disappointed that no shade tree has been planted to replace the one lost in the mid-’70s.

The sun is relentless, but a game is in progress and the playground is swarming with children. Across the way, Goodall Park advertises the start of the Sanford Mainers’ season.

Four and a half years is not such a long time; still, changes are important. Sanford may be hurting from the economic downturn, but the town is determined to prosper. My thanks to all who are making this possible. I’m glad to be back.

Dorothy Mayville is a resident of Sanford.