It takes gumption and a sincere desire to make a difference to run for public office, and this week, 10 brave souls volunteered to lead the town into the 21st century. (See page 2A for story.)
Now that these civic minded individuals have declared their intentions to run for mayor or Payson Town Council, we have a few humble suggestions for things that need doing.
• A new public library:
A well-appointed library is a cornerstone of any thoughtful, progressive community. It's a place that fosters ideas and stimulates the imagination. It keeps our history, fuels our research, teaches our children.
Payson, which has the highest book circulation rate in the county, has long since outgrown its tiny library on Main Street. Not one more book can be crammed on the shelves; not one more piece of history, not one more encyclopedia, not one more gripping story. Building a new library for the community would be one of the finest contributions any town leader could make.
• Main Street redevelopment:
Traditionally, the main street district of small-town America is an area that reflects the ideals and values of its residents. But Payson has lost its focus over the years, with its hodge-podge mix of western, woodsy and Alpine themes. Now is the time for town leaders to step in and revitalize Payson's Main Street area to help the town regain its lost charm.
• Well-planned growth:
The Wall Street Journal put Payson on the national map this year when it published a study that pegged the community as the 10th most popular retirement spot in America. It's impossible to keep Payson's temperate weather, beautiful natural surroundings and small-town pace a secret forever. Growth is inevitable, and the town needs to be prepared. Town leaders need to aggressively pursue new water supplies for the community, invest in wider, better planned roads and continue the town's dedication to bolstering public safety.
• Affordable housing; higher-paying jobs:
Local housing costs continue to out-pace average wages in the community, making it harder for families to live in Payson, and making it more difficult for employers to find qualified workers in our shallow labor pool. Town leaders need to find ways to attract affordable housing projects and high-paying companies to town.