Progress Proves Positive At Dawn Of New Millennium

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Three new police officers were hired in 1999 for the burgeoning Town of Payson.

By year's end, one was critically wounded. He remains at home recovering, eager to rejoin his new department.

It was a painful reminder to Rim country residents that with progress, with growth, with any kind of advancement, there are also drawbacks.

With these kinds of ups and downs, Payson "The Flag Capital of Arizona" might just as easily be called the state's roller-coaster capital.

During the past year Eastern Arizona College wrapped up construction on its new campus on Mud Springs Road, bringing college degree programs to the Rim country. The two-year college's partnership with Northern Arizona University's distance-learning program allows students to complete certain four-year degrees and a handful of master's degrees without ever leaving Payson.

Phoenix Logistics, a Valley electronic manufacturing firm, canceled plans to move to Payson due to exorbitant land costs. Phoenix Logistics, proponents said, was everything Payson was looking for in a light-manufacturing company.

Elsewhere on the business front, the new Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in January bringing 433 full- and part-time jobs to the Rim country.

Down on Main Street, local leaders decided to put their best foot forward by creating a redevelopment district, with future plans to return Main Street to its historic status as the center of local action.

Another newsworthy example of the good news-bad news syndrome depending on your views about growth was the naming of Payson as the 10th-fastest growing retirement community in a study by the Jacksonville State University in Alabama.

More up-and-down news: Payson was scheduled to become home to a four-screen theater. Wait, make that no theater. Yet again, how about a six-screen theater? In the final analysis, it looks as if Rim country movie buffs may soon have 10 screens to choose from.

Roller-coaster rides.

It's what adrenaline-junkies live for. It's what Rim country residents have become accustomed to. It's what local merchants thrive and sometimes die on.

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