Skepticism An Obstacle For Event Center Coordinator

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One month ago, Barry Cardinael wasn't too sure how he'd be spending the next six months.

Among his choices were spending more time on his orthopedic foot stool business, going back on tour with Neil Diamond, or continuing work as project development director for the Payson Multi-Event Center.

A vote by the Payson Town Council April 8 helped him make a decision: his contract was extended another six months to continue his coordination of the event center.

As project development director, Cardinael has been charged with the unenviable task of soliciting donations, rounding up volunteers and answering to a council that voted 5-2 on his contract.

If successful, he will oversee the construction of the eventual home of the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo. As previously predicted, however, the site will not be ready in time for the August rodeo, Cardinael said.

"Right now, we're holding biweekly construction meetings in order to coordinate the procurement of materials primarily involved in the infrastructure," Cardinael said.

He said right now he's working with Arizona Public Service to make sure the switching cabinets and transformers are placed in the appropriate places.

The procurement process, according to state law, requires that all materials and labor charges go out for public bid, Cardinael said. That added step just adds more time to the front end of the project, but also saves money in the long run.

"What that means, though, is that if we're going to spend $18,000 on electrical supplies with Jeff Bartlett of Bud's Plumbing, if you were going to go out in the real world and purchase this for the XYZ Corporation, the prices would probably be 100 percent higher," he said.

The most noticeable work to be done lately, Cardinael said, was the seeding of the embankments surrounding the event center site.

"All of the materials and labor were donated," he said, "about $11,000 worth. Just this project alone was probably two or three months in the making."

Native Resources donated the machinery, seed and manpower for the project, while a glue-like tackifier and fertilizer were donated by John Miller of Spec International of Tucson. Bruce Church of Wadsworth Golf donated 2,000 pounds of mulch for the project.

While Cardinael continues his work as planned, he maintains that he's fighting an uphill battle until residents and council members can see more visible proof of his efforts.

"There's a believability factor," he said. Cardinael said he felt the public is skeptical about the completion of the new arena because the rodeo relocation had been kicked around for so many years with little or no action.

To satisfy the skeptics, he's looking for more volunteers to help with the labor-intensive project.

"There are still several thousand hours of hand-work to be done in order to make it a safe place to hold an event," Cardinael said. "I'll be talking to service organizations and other clubs like the Lions and the Kiwanis to see if we can spark more interest in the front-end part of the project. It's a tremendous project."

To learn how your club or organization can help the multi-event center, contact Cardinael at 472-9022.

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