I am writing on behalf of the event center volunteers to clarify my position on the issue of the town's desire to lease the multi-event center site and management to a third party.
In 1997, the Multi-Event Center site was nothing but woods, brush, and rough terrain. Since then, almost $600,000 in on-site improvements have transformed the site to its present state. This has occurred largely because local volunteers and businesses donated their help, machinery and materials. The work has been done, as in years past, in the Payson tradition of relocating the rodeo arena when growth and other factors made a necessity of changing locations. It was also done in the interest of preserving a community use arena for area residents. Gymkhana, 4-H, FFA, equestrian and rodeo events are still as much a part of life around Payson as any other activity.
Payson is a relatively small town with many priorities and a limited budget. The Town Council has already spent a significant amount of money and budgeted more to help in the completion of the project. Reasonably, they must also consider the pending financial burden of future expenses for operations, maintenance, management, or improvements at the facility. Therefore, the option of letting someone else assume the financial risks and responsibilities by leasing the property and managing the arena must be considered.
The individuals and businesses who have been working on the event center site for two years respectfully have a very personal interest in who is going to manage the facility, who will be able to use it, and how it will be run. (Likewise, as the image and reputation of this facility will always be a direct reflection upon Payson, and as others will also want to use it, all area residents have a stake in the same issues). Therefore, for the last year I have been expressing the following idea repeatedly: "It not only matters who will manage the arena, but more importantly, how it will be managed." In other words: "what rules will establish its operational policy."
I have expressed to the Town Council that: "No matter who manages the facility in future years, the manner in which the original management agreement is written will be of paramount and lasting importance. Such a document should preserve the original intent, purpose, and image of the facility, regardless of whatever management groups or individuals come and go over the years."
It is not my decision who will manage the new facility, nor how it will be operated. However, while I am still associated with the project, I will continue to do my best to keep the concerns and interests of those helping to build the new arena (and the community at-large) foremost in the minds of the decision-makers in Payson.