Visionaries Deserve Our Support


by Stan Brown


I am prompted by the blowing of two crosswinds to relay a little history. The wind from the north has raised much dust over the Green Valley Redevelopment and Main Street projects. The other more southerly wind brings tidings that the governor's rural Development Conference Sept. 5 will give Payson Town nominations for statewide awards.

McIntyre's Mogollon Grille has been nominated for the Best Interior Renovation and those who created the Green Valley Park are nominated for the Best Public Improvement Project.

Citizens who oppose the Main Street and Green Valley Redevelopment projects have somehow lost the excitement and vision of those families who preceded most of us here. These were men and women of vision who built the first church and Payson's first library along Main Street.

It was a group of pioneer families who created the first local chamber of commerce to lobby the state for the Beeline Highway. Their leader was Alf Randall and among the number were the Boardmen brothers (Guy and Bill), Jim Deming, Grady Harrison and Harry Goodfellow. Today, we call them "old-timers," but they were men with a dream and the vision to see it through.

Then there were those idealists, among them the first mayor Ted Pettet, who pressed to have Payson incorporated so it was no longer a back-water mountain town governed by a county seat 80 miles away. There were issues of zoning and dependable water, road maintenance and law enforcement that needed attention, so forward looking men planned and worked and in 1973 achieved the municipal government we now have.

In more recent years, people of vision as well as practicality have been raised up among us, and they gave us what is called "Payson's Crown Jewel," the Green Valley Park.

In the late 1980s, the principal architects of this unique project were Gary Abrahamson, Larry Allen, Doris Carpenter, Gary Dashney, Joel Goode, Craig Swartwood and Buzz Walker. Their vision drew many others into the task, including the late Norval Tyler. (Recognize "Tyler Parkway?"). He negotiated the land trade with the US Forest Service for Chaparral Pines, and with the support of the others mentioned, was able to acquire for the Town of Payson the land that Green Valley Park and lakes now occupy. That land was a gift to the town from Chaparral Pines through the Forest Service trade.

Now once again, men and women with enthusiasm for our beloved town have moved forward with plans to extend the park and lake system east along the American Gulch drainage. They also seek to bring new life to Payson's historic Main Street.

They deserve the support of all who love this town and appreciate its leaders, past and present.

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