The question about whether to have a third party manage, operate and maintain Payson's proposed multi-event center -- or to have the town work to fund the project itself and delay its construction -- has been decided.
Now it's a matter of seeing if there are any takers.
The Payson Town Council decided at its Thursday meeting to have Town Manager Rich Underkofler draft a request for proposals to have a private party lease and manage the property.
"That 36 acres has sat for 17 years," said Council member Ken Murphy. "I don't see this council or future councils coming up with the funds for it. The bottom line is, we need a covered arena."
Underkofler will have to consult with a committee appointed by the mayor and council when he seeks a third party to lease the new rodeo grounds, but it is a move that is recommended by both Barry Cardinael, who has contracted with the town to raise funds for the multi-event center, and by Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind.
In November 1998, Cardinael suggested that initial management be maintained with the Parks and Recreation Department for a minimum of three months "with the ultimate goal of evolving into a third-party management scenario."
Cardinael told the council Thursday, "If you ratify the RFP motion, you will establish a discourse which examines not only who might manage the facility, but more importantly, how it should be managed."
Schwind suggested that the multi-event center be operated through a lease with an independent party. He said one issue to be considered is whether the property should be under "passive rather than active management."
In a memo to Underkofler, Schwind wrote: "Do we need thousands more visitors in a community already struggling with water issues?"
Schwind said after the meeting that if someone else managed, operated and maintained the facility and the town had the money it would normally expend on the site, the money could go elsewhere.
Council member Jack Monschein said he believed the council was circumventing the statutes. "You can lease, but you can't sell without a vote of the people," he said.
Monschein and Council member Hoby Herron opposed the request to allow Underkofler to come up with a draft for proposals, but the motion carried 5-2.