When most people move to a new town, their usual first order of business is to introduce themselves to their neighbors.
That's what Ken and Elyse Waters did upon their recent relocation to Payson from Texas.
It was just the scope of their greeting that was unusual.
Through a family-operated foundation, the Waters have donated $10,000 to the Payson Public Library's match fund, which promptly turned it into a $20,000 gift. They also handed over $5,000 each to the Payson Humane Society and the Payson chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
The money came from a foundation named after Ken's parents, Thomas P. and Dorothy Waters of Fort Worth, Texas. Operated by Ken and his three brothers Robert, Patrick and James its purpose is to reward good causes, "and we felt we should nominate some of the good causes in the new town that's now our hometown," Ken said. "Not that there aren't more than three, but those are the ones we were able to identify as being worthy."
The Waters were living near Fort Worth when they started exploring the country for "cooler climates and quality golf," Ken said. "We located Chaparral Pines on the Internet. So we came up to Payson about 18 months ago to take a look at it, and decided we should make it our home."
Once that plan was solidified, he said, the couple became long-distance subscribers to the Roundup to get familiar with the town. In the pages of the newspaper, the Waters read about the drive to raise funds for the new library.
Payson Library Director Terry Morris has only three words to describe the Waters' gift, but they are thoughtfully chosen and sincere: "It's absolutely wonderful."
To date, according Library Friends Treasurer John Wilson, the library project's fund-raising arm has received $15,893.04 towards its matching funds goal of $100,000. The matches have been guaranteed by a local, unnamed benefactor, he said.
"We're very pleased. I'm expecting (the current figure) will double within the next month, and our benefactor will have to double that," Wilson said.
Still to be added to that total "Unless some weird thing happens, because we don't have the official notification yet," Morris said is a grant valued at approximately $17,000 from the Bill Gates Foundation.
"We qualified for four computers that are loaded with about 30 state-of-the-art programs," Miller said. "It's right at $17,000 worth of product, and that amount is going to also be matched by our benefactor so that's like another $34,000."
The computers will be installed in a "homework center" in the library's young adult area, she said.
The library also received a check from the Fraternal Order of Eagles for $500 to purchase large-print books, and that donation will be matched as well.
Library Friends President Judy Buettner said the group has purchased two additional computers for the library and, on their own, Buettner and her husband finagled another computer donation from IBM.
A recent Library Friends book sale raised a $1,600. That amount was matched by a local couple and the total of $3,200 will be matched again by the unnamed benefactor, raising the amount to $6,400.
It won't be too long before Payson sees the fruits of those funding efforts.
According to Morris, the construction documents for the new Payson Public Library have already been mailed to the building committee and the town's building department for review.
If the town gets through that process quickly and there are minimal changes, the Town Council could approve the construction plans and authorize them to go to bid by Aug. 10.
The bidding process would likely take five weeks, Morris said, after which the town council would award the construction contract probably by the middle of September and the ground-breaking would proceed.
"They're projecting that by this time next year, we should be darned near ready to move in," Morris said.
To make donation to Library Friends, send a check to P.O. Box 13, Payson, 85547.