Northern Gila County Genealogical Society officials thought they had a plan to establish permanent roots in the Rim country. But that plan went awry recently when the anonymous donor who offered to build the society's new building withdrew the offer.
"The funds were diverted to another project," Society Vice President Alice Kenmore said, "so we are forced to look at other options."
The news was a blow to the society, coming just three weeks after the Town of Payson Planning and Zoning Commission granted the nonprofit corporation a conditional use permit to build the new facility on the southwest corner of Colcord Road and Bonita Street.
In its 26-year history, the society has never had a permanent home. Currently housed in two rooms in the west wing of Payson Care Center, the library was originally located in the public library, then moved to an old trailer at the rodeo grounds, then to the Forest Service building at Green Valley Park, and then to a trailer loaned by Payson Regional Medical Center.
"We haven't been given notice yet that we have to move, but we knew from the start that our present location would be temporary," Kenmore said. "They are going to remodel that part of Payson Care Center into assisted living facilities."
That's why the society recently agreed to buy the land at Colcord and Bonita to build their permanent home. As approved by the commission, the plan was to raze a condemned single-family residence and construct a 1,500-square-foot building to house both the library and society offices.
Then came the news that the anonymous donor, a local builder, was withdrawing his offer.
The library currently has about $15,000 in a building fund. Part of it has been used to make a down payment on the property, with another anonymous donor carrying the balance on a loan the society has agreed to pay back within five years.
That leaves the society short the funds to pay off the loan on the property and to get a building onto the site, triggering the current fund-raising initiative.
While the society does not yet know how much it needs to raise for a new building, tax deductible donations can be mailed to: Northern Gila County Genealogical Society, Inc., P.O. Box 952, Payson, AZ 85547.
Meanwhile, it's business as usual at the Payson Care Center site. Although over 50 percent of library materials are in storage due to space limitations, the library is currently open from 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays through Saturdays.
For more information, call 474-2139.