A subtle shift is under way in the heart of Payson.
It's not yet visible to the eye, only the imagination, but the forces of change are gathering around Main Street just the same.
A committee of residents determined to make the town's Main Street neighborhood something special again, received council authority last week to take action. And the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee, which has spent months devising a plan to revitalize the Main Street district, is already on the move.
The committee has applied for a $950,000 highway-enhancement grant through the Arizona Department of Transportation to create a gateway into Main Street that will encourage visitors to venture off the highway.
It also plans to apply for at least eight more state and federal grants to develop off-street parking, wider streets, greenbelts and walkways, in addition to funding grants and low-interest loans that will help business and home owners remodel their properties into something we can all be proud of.
That's the plan.
Here's the vision: open-air restaurants, shops, galleries, historic homes and movie theaters connected by tree-shaded walkways and wide, inviting streets.
It's a place where business owners want to set up shop. It's a place tourists can't wait to visit. It's a place where residents want to take their friends and families.
It's a place for quiet conversation and lazy lunches in the sun. It's a place for window shopping. It's a place to take a date for dinner and a movie on Saturday night.
The key to transforming Main Street into that kind of town gathering place is community commitment.
When local visionaries first suggested we dig a big hole in the middle of a horse pasture in west Payson and fill it with treated sewer water, folks in the community were less than enthusiastic. But the idea caught on, and Green Valley Park has been a hit since the moment it opened three years ago.
Revitalizing Main Street will build on that vision. Call your council members and tell them that you want them to develop a Main Street district that's the pride of Payson.