Horizons Of Planned Community Center Project Are Expanding

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Putting the "community" into a regional community center project is the focus of a local group which is seeing the development of their pet project escalate at lightning speed.

"The idea is to provide more than just recreation, and to provide it to the entire Rim country community," co-organizer Troy Murray said.

Murray, along with the Roundup's Randy Roberson, has been meeting with a number of local service groups to investigate the interest of bringing them together in one location for the good of the community.

"Aside from creating a facility to hold various special events," Roberson said, "there is a fast growing interest being shown for a place where we can offer programs such as senior mentoring, career counseling, vocational training, as well as providing a meeting, banquet and display hall facility.

"There's been a considerable interest shown in the past to create something for our youth to do, but we believe the flaw in the various projects that have failed thus far is that they all just tried to provide entertainment and really had little substance," Roberson added.

The group believes it has the plan and the support to change that and wants to provide its benefits to all age groups in the community.

"Senior mentoring is a good example," Murray said. "There is a wealth of knowledge and experience with our many seniors here and, given the opportunity, our youth could benefit greatly from an organized chance to learn from them. The program would offer adults the opportunity to get involved and make a positive difference in the lives of local youth, creating a win-win relationship."

The group believes fostering those types of relationships is the whole idea behind the project, and it intends to provide scholarship and grant research facilities as well as career guidance training for youth and adults.

A community computer lab is being planned to provide additional learning and research opportunities.

Organizers have been meeting with various groups such as the Food Bank, Payson Literacy Program, World/Aid and others who have expressed interest in teaming with the community center to better provide a variety of services to the community in one location as they search for another.

The group is also organizing public and alternative school foundations which can be used as fund-raising tools to better help local schools, and they are looking to provide a variety of youth activity programs.

"One of the features we would like to incorporate is a climbing wall. These have seen significant public popularity in other cities. and they could also be used for various search and rescue training programs," Murray said.

Organizers have been researching a number of potential sites in Payson, including the Nazarene Church on Payson's south side. "They're building a new facility at another location, and the facilities might work great as a location to spawn these programs and services," Murray said.

The group is currently investigating zoning and other concerns and next plans to talk with town officials about the site's feasibility.

For information on how you can get involved, call Troy Murray at Estate Planning Strategies, 472-6768.

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