Council Reviews River Walk Plan


The Payson Town Council will consider spending up to $17,300 Thursday to determine whether the town can feasibly build a river walk in the American Gulch flood plain near Main Street.

Town Manager Rich Underkofler will ask the council to fund a survey of the area, a title investigation, soil tests and an appraisal of one of the three properties within the American Gulch flood plain.

The studies are the tip of the iceberg, Underkofler said, on a proposal to build a river walk park and water reclamation project from the Green Valley lakes east to the Sawmill Crossing Shopping center just south of Main Street.

If the council approves the studies during its regular 6 p.m. meeting Thursday at Town Hall, it will be the town's first step toward a proposal to buy five acres of land in the flood plain from Dannie Garcia, Underkofler said.

Thursday's funding proposal would allow town officials to spend $6,000 for surveying and title investigation from APEX Land Survey and Pioneer Title; $3,800 for soil sample testing from Western Technologies; and $2,250 for appraisal services from Layton and Watkins.

"(Garcia's) land fronts McLane Road on Main Street, where the old Pieper mansion is," Underkofler said. "If this goes, we'll be seeking a historic preservation grant to help us restore that mansion, and possibly even to help acquire it. It's the oldest structure in Payson."

An additional $3,250 would be used to appraise the Payson Humane Society and Kaibab properties, and $2,000 for title insurance bringing the total of the request to $17,300.

"The reason I'd like to see this all done now is that I don't know what to put in next year's budget for this project without those appraisals," Underkofler said.

Trail trouble

A trail leading to the Tonto National Forest could stall the approval of a new subdivision in southeast Payson.

Approval of the Boulder Creek subdivision a 20-lot gated subdivision at East Cedar Lane and Sutton Road was tabled at the April 16 planning and zoning commission meeting because developers failed to negotiate an agreement with the Forest Service and the Northern Gila County Trails Association for an alternate route for the trail that runs directly through the subdivision.

"(Planning and zoning) is having a special meeting (Wednesday, April 25) to discuss this, to see if they can settle this before the council meeting Thursday night," Underkofler said Monday. "If they can't, the council could just approve it the way it is."

If that's the case, the town manager said, the developer would be under no obligation to redirect the existing trail.

Airport agreement

When Jim and Charlotte Garner took over operation of the fixed-base fuel operation at the Payson Municipal Airport, they assumed a lease that had been drawn up for their predecessor, Peter Paige.

Since many of the items on that lease were outdated and no longer applied to present-day operations, the Payson Town Council will consider a new lease agreement Thursday.

"There was stuff on the old lease that the previous operator agreed to do, stuff that isn't even up there anymore," town engineer LaRon Garrett said. "This is just a move to get that updated."

Garrett said one of the items in the new agreement deals with the proposed construction of a maintenance hanger.

"Peter Paige had in his lease that he could build a maintenance hanger, but he never did," he said.

In the terms of the proposed lease, Garner is allowed that same option. The lease is for 31 years, Garrett said, a term that is based on depreciation formulas developed by the IRS.

Public hearings

Three public hearings will be held during the council's meeting.

The first hearing deals with the rules and regulations at the Payson Event Center that govern the use of the facility, arena preparation, lighting restrictions and camping at the center.

During the second hearing, residents will get the chance to speak out on policies regarding town parks. Included amendments to the ordinance would prohibit park users from playing loud music or amplifying sounds that disturb neighbors or can be heard at a distance of 150 feet or more; prohibits the use of stakes, such as those used for tents or canopies at Green Valley or Rumsey parks; and prohibits the use of bicycles, tricycles, gopeds or motorized vehicles or devices at the Rumsey skate park and tennis courts.

The third public hearing is the result of a volunteer who's serving on one of the town's boards.

Rosa Golhotra, a junior at Payson High School, is currently serving on one of the town's committees, despite a town ordinance that prohibits her service.

The town ordinance allows only for the appointment of teenagers to town boards and committees who are at least 18 years of age. The proposed change would lower that age to 16 and older.

Belly up to the bar

Festival season begins in the Rim country with the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo, scheduled for May 10 to 13 at the Payson Event Center.

Before the action begins, however, the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee has to get approval for its liquor license, which the council will consider Thursday. If approved, the license would be good for the four-day event, and the proceeds would pay for local student scholarships.

Two other liquor license applications are up for council consideration, both filed by Sharesse Von Strauss on behalf of the Northern Gila County Historical Society.

The first license is for a fund-raiser scheduled for May 19 at the Rim Country Museum, 700 Green Valley Parkway. The event is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The second license request is for June 29, the night the museum plays host to the Regional Council of the Central Arizona Association of Governments. That event is scheduled to run from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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