Time For A Crusade On Main Street

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With the stroke of her pen endorsing a measure passed by the Arizona Legislature, Gov. Jane Hull has put to rest the Town of Payson's plan to use tax increment financing to spur the redevelopment of the Main Street area. (See related story.)

And so we hope that her signature also signals the end of strained feelings between the Payson Unified School District and town officials over the town's now-defunct plan to divert tax dollars from the school district to finance redevelopment.

We endorsed the town's controversial tax increment strategy because we felt -- and still do -- that a strong community must have a healthy heart. Payson's is skipping more than a few beats. Until the town's historic housing and commercial areas along Main Street regain their vigor, our community will continue to be hobbled like a long-distance runner with a heart murmur.

A condition like that sometimes needs emergency care. Tax increment financing was a clever way for the town to secure more tax dollars for its Main Street programs, and we felt the end justified this approach. But it was a bit of an end-around.

With that strategy derailed, it's now time for our town leaders to step up and champion a clear vision for a rejuvenated Main Street and its benefits for the Rim country as a whole.

It's going to take citizen support to rebuild Main Street, because, in one form or another, it's going to involve an investment of tax dollars. We say these will be well-spent because of their payoff in civic pride, increased property values and business growth.

But we're going to need a crusade to make this a reality, and some strong crusaders to inspire the quest.

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