The Tonto Apache Tribe made an enormous investment in Rim country children and our community Wednesday with the donation of $150,000 to the Payson School District to complete an all-weather track at Payson High School stadium.
This is the largest private contribution the school district has ever received, and it's the largest single donation the tribe has ever made.
We commend the Tonto Apache community for its gracious gift and for its insight into the importance of the school's stadium improvement project.
The stadium project has been supported for the past two years by the state's "Credit for Kids" tax program, but work on the project has crept along at a frustratingly slow pace.
Because of the inadequate condition of the field, the high school did not host a single track and field event last season. This makes things difficult for students, parents and coaches, who are forced to travel out of town for every event. It also prevents more of us from supporting our local athletes and eliminates the chance for other teams and spectators to visit Payson. Those meets and the potential to host regional and state competitions would be huge boosts to the local economy.
School officials have listed a variety of reasons including lack of funding for the slow progress the district is making toward improving the stadium. We urge district officials to take full advantage of the momentum created by the tribe's generosity and lengthen their stride on this project.
District officials have been on the mark with their goal to have an all-weather surface on the high school track.
They have been getting set and talking about doing it.
But now it's time to go and get the job done.