Historic Community Ties Set Kaibab Project Apart


Regarding the editorial dialogue between Dan Adams, Sharesse Von Strauss and Dick Wolfe on whether or not the town should be financially involved in Kaibab's development project, I would like to make a point that has not been addressed.

It may be only my opinion, but I see the Kaibab property as somewhat of a "taking," something I know Mr. Adams is opposed to. The Kaibab sawmill, like many others throughout Arizona and New Mexico, was forced to close when the forests of the two states were all but shut down. After the government put Kaibab out of business, it then mandated hundreds of thousands of dollars of environmental expenditures because much of the property is designated flood plain. The town required many thousands more.

Chapman, Safeway and Wal-Mart chose to develop their projects with full prior knowledge of the cost of development today, especially in Payson. Had Kaibab had a choice, the Whitings (the owners of the company) told me it would have remained a sawmill and been grandfathered like many other historic local businesses. And since the dialogue concerns subsidy, I would be remiss in not reminding the newer citizens of Payson that one might say Kaibab subsidized Payson as its chief employer and community benefactor for many, many years before Payson became an incorporated town.

Several generations of white and Apache Paysonites worked there for "the best pay in town." Payson without the sawmill would not have been Payson.

So, yes, I believe it's appropriate to consider mutually beneficial compensation in the case of such valuable historic, sentimental and financial ties. American communities were built on these kind of ties. Wal-Mart, Safeway and Chapman are in a different category altogether.

Carroll Cox

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