Karen Greenspoon, a former hotel marketing executive and travel agency owner, is the new Main Street Coordinator for the Town of Payson.
Currently Main Street Coordinator for Show Low, Greenspoon will assume her new duties Jan. 22. She was selected from 22 applicants, according to Town Manager Rich Underkofler.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity," Greenspoon said from her Show Low office. "I've always loved Payson, and I decided if I ever got the opportunity to move there I would."
Another factor that influenced her taking the position was a generally positive attitude about the project among Payson residents. "There seems to be a vision here," she said, "and the community, for the most part, seems to be behind the project."
According to Underkofler, one of the key factors in her selection was that Greenspoon has demonstrated strong fund-raising skills.
"She's done a couple of rodeos, a golf tournament, and some festival-type things that impressed us," he said.
The town was also looking for a coordinator with previous experience.
"We sent the job description to all 13 of the Main Street Programs in Arizona," Underkofler said.
The position was created as a result of Payson's recent designation as an Arizona Main Street Community by the Department of Commerce.
"The traditional model, according to the Department of Commerce, is to organize a nonprofit corporation," Underkofler explained. "Within two years of being designated, we have to have an independent board of directors in place."
During her two-plus years in Show Low, Greenspoon earned a reputation for turning Main Street detractors into supporters. Greenspoon grew the Show Low program into the state's largest, with a membership of over 80 individuals and businesses.
Before accepting the Show Low position, Greenspoon owned and operated a Tucson-based travel agency whose primary clients were entertainers. "I was married to the keyboard player in Three Dog Night, and I booked all their travel," she said. "It just kind of grew from there."
Before that, she worked in the lodging industry, including a stint in Wyoming with Holiday Inns. Greenspoon replaces Sharesse Von Strauss who recently relinquished her position as the Main Street Redevelopment Committee's project coordinator to become full-time director of the Rim Country Museum.
Underkofler, however, expects Von Strauss to stay involved in the Main Street project. "I'm sure Karen will work very closely with Sharesse because of all the historic preservation issues that are involved," he said.
Greenspoon said the eventual design and composition of Payson's Main Street, and whether the emphasis is on historic restoration or new structures, will only be decided after the preference of the community is determined. Which way we go depends on what the people want," she said.