The Mogollon Grille and Green Valley Park are among 35 projects in 13 Arizona communities selected as finalists in the 2001 Main Street Awards competition.
The Mogollon Grille is a finalist in the Best Interior Renovation category, while Green Valley Park is in the running for Best Public Improvement. The finalists were chosen from a slate of 75 entries.
The only operating restaurant on Main Street, the Mogollon Grille was a total interior and exterior renovation project, according to Main Street Manager Karen Greenspoon.
"Sue McIntyre, the restaurant's co-owner, was also the contractor, and she has done a beautiful job," Greenspoon said.
The project summary which accompanied the nomination referred to the great care that was taken to maintain the period feel of the building, including finding old barn wood to match the existing ceiling slats.
"A fireplace was added, along with collector items in the dining area. Pictures and stories of the original Main Street adorn the walls," the summary says.
"Sue McIntyre is a Main Street board member and has not only done a beautiful job on the restaurant, but also with promotions to encourage people to come to Main Street."
While Green Valley Park is not new, Greenspoon said projects that take several years to complete are allowed more latitude in the competition.
A $6.5-million project, Green Valley Park turned an unusable flood plain into a community gathering place at the end of Main Street.
The 45-acre park features three lakes that use reclaimed water to replenish the groundwater supply. Part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's urban fishing program, the three lakes receive plants of rainbow trout from October to May.
Picnic ramadas and a grassy amphitheater where concerts are held under the stars complete the park's family atmosphere. It is also home to the Rim Country Museum and Payson Parks and Recreation Department.
A possible extension of the park is currently in the early planning stages. "We're trying to acquire the Garcia property to do a linear park down Main Street," Greenspoon said.
"We are in negotiations to buy the land and it is in the budget," she said. Streetscape renderings produced by a seven-member state resource team show the park running the entire length of Main Street from Green Valley Park to Highway 87.
"A design for the park is being done right now," Greenspoon said. "We're looking at whether water retention or a channel would be feasible, but regardless of whether we have a water feature, the state resource team recommends pedestrian paths and bike paths through it."
Other Payson Main Street projects nominated in the competition include the Main Street Office for Best Interior Renovation, the Young & Burton Construction Office for Best Facade Renovation over $10,000 and Best Interior Renovation, and Kaibab Industries Sawmill Crossing for Best Public/Private Partnership. The state legislature established the Main Street Program with the Arizona Department of Commerce to stimulate the preservation and revitalization of downtown areas in smaller communities statewide. Payson is one of 20 designated Main Street communities.
Winners will be announced at the Main Street Awards Dinner Sept. 5 at the Governor's Rural Development Conference at the Rio Rico Resort in Nogales.