Plans For Main Street Starting To Gel

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With less than 3 percent of the town's land mass and 47 percent of the calls to the police department, Payson's Main Street area is in trouble.

But it's getting a little help from its friends, the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee.

Community Development Director Bob Gould will present the committee's draft plan to members of the Payson Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission at 5:15 p.m. Thursday at the Rim Country Museum.

The meeting will include a discussion of timelines for approval of the plan.

On July 21, the committee will hold a workshop to share ideas with speakers from other Main Street programs in Arizona. The charette will be held from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. at a location to be announced.

"We're lining it all up to show what can be done," said Green Valley Project Coordinator Sharesse Von Strauss.

Von Strauss, who is also the director of the Rim Country Museum, said she has a personal interest in having an arts and cultural center on Main Street.

"We're looking at this from a lot of different angles," she said. "That's why it's important for everyone to come and learn about the plan."

Von Strauss said she'd also like to see "mom and pop type" businesses in the area.

She said she hopes the workshop is well-attended and that people from all over town, in particular those who live and work in the redevelopment area, will share their opinions, ideas and thoughts for the historic and neglected area of town.

The Main Street area, once the hub of commercialism and a meeting place for the town's residents, has experienced a major decline in activity in recent years.

When the Beeline Highway and Highway 260 came to be developed, Main Street's infrastructure suffered and its use as a center for banking, postal services, hotels and shops vanished.

The intent of the committee's plan, as written in the draft's introduction, is not to compete with commercial businesses on the highways, but to once again have the area become a vital part of the town.

The committee hopes to achieve that end by restoring the area's historic structures, establishing zoning regulations, improving water systems in the area, and eliminating substandard buildings.

The area will also be used to encourage and assist adequate and affordable housing for all income groups.

Residential development will focus primarily on multi-family units.

The committee will also work on establishing efficient vehicular access and movement, adequate parking and opportunity for pedestrian traffic.

Six areas have been identified in the plan. These include the following:

  • Area 1, located on the west side of McLane Road in the area of the Hillside Mobile Home Park and the future site of Rim Overlook, has been designated as a potential commercial development area with multi-family residential use to the west of the area.
  • Area 2 consists of commercial property along the Beeline Highway.
  • Area 3 runs along the 100-year floodplain south of Main Street and is intended to provide a combination of multi-family residential and greenbelt areas. Public parking facilities could also be established in this area.
  • Area 4 on the east side of McLane Road and south of Phoenix Street has been designated as an employment area with buildings no larger than 20,000 square feet and 35 feet high.
  • Area 5 at McLane Road and the Beeline Highway currently contains a manufactured home park and is in the area of a major drainage system, which will need care with flooding problems.
  • Area 6 with parking facilities along the entrance roadway at Green Valley Parkway will be restricted to recreational uses.

In order to meet the objectives of the committee, all possible sources of funding will be pursued, including bond issues, loans, grants, general fund expenditures, sales tax increment financing, special assessments, participation in federal programs, county and state assistance, and inter-governmental agreements.

To prepare the land for redevelopment, the committee is suggesting that the town acquire property necessary to achieve the plan's objectives and to help in the efforts to rehabilitate existing structures.

"We want everyone to understand the focus and how we plan to accomplish the revitalization of Main Street," VonStrauss said. "This is a community effort."

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