Golf Ball Manufacturing Plant Takes Swing At Starting Payson Operation

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The Rim country will pick up a minimum of 20 new jobs if the Payson Town Council approves the sale of five lots in Sky Park Industrial subdivision to Phoenix Golf Ball Company at its 6 p.m meeting Thursday at Town Hall.

While the company has a full golf ball manufacturing facility in the Valley, it initially plans to open an order-processing center in Payson. "They make a lot of specialty-type golf balls imprinted with logos and advertising," said Vice Mayor Dick Wolfe, who has toured the company's Phoenix facility.

"One of their main clients is Disneyland."

Under terms of the proposed sale that Town Attorney Sam Streichman will present to the council, the company agrees to employ at least 20 people, complete construction of its initial facility, and be in operation within one year. The selling price for the combined lots is $159,000, with $62,200 to be paid in cash prior to close of escrow, and the balance of $98,000 secured by an interest-free, three-year note.

Wolfe said the company wants to expand and has chosen Payson because of its quality of life. "I am in favor of the deal," he said.

The council also is expected to accept a matching state fire assistance grant of $105,000 to plan, assess and develop areas that can be treated by hand crews, mechanical means, and the use of some prescribed fire to remove excessive vegetation and fuel build-ups that could lead to a potentially catastrophic fire.

In addition to Payson, communities included are Star Valley, Pine-Strawberry, Tonto Apache Reservation, Christopher Kohls, Mesa del Caballo and Tonto Village. The project also includes informational and community outreach elements, according to Payson Fire Chief John Ross.

"With predominant winds from the southwest, a fire traveling from this direction constitutes a distinct hazard to these communities," Ross said. "Declining vegetation health and increasing density have set the stage for extreme wildland fire scenarios."

Also on the agenda is a loan repayment agreement with the Arizona Transportation Board that would allow the town to accelerate the McLane Road reconstruction project from Goodfellow to Main Street. According to Town Manager Rich Underkofler, 48 percent of the $1.1 million loan would be repaid by an Arizona Department of Transportation grant.

The project includes adding center turn lanes and sidewalks, two traffic lanes with bike lanes on each side, and realignment for improved sight distance.

The council will also consider an intergovernmental agreement with ADOT to improve the intersection of Highway 260 and Mud Springs Road. If approved, each party would pay half the cost estimated at $35,000 apiece to add a 12-foot right-turn lane.

Under new business, Payson Municipal Airport Manager Ted Anderson will ask the council for permission to develop, promote and implement an airport volunteer program. Designed to improve the service provided by the airport, volunteers will be asked to work a minimum of four hours a month performing a variety of duties including airfield checks, campground host and tour guide.

The council will also be presented with petitions signed by 120 Payson residents urging that Taylor Public Pool at Rumsey Park be covered.

Also on the agenda Thursday night is a special-event liquor license request by the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee for August Doin's events scheduled for the Payson Event Center Aug. 16-19. Proceeds will fund scholarships for underprivileged youth.

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