Payson's Vision Of Main Street To Be Unveiled Thursday

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After years of speculation and debate, Payson residents will finally get a preview Thursday of how Main Street may look following its redevelopment.

At a presentation to be made June 7 at the Mogollon Grille, the State Resource Team will conclude three out of four days of design and marketing research by unveiling its long-awaited "streetscape" design boards to the public.

"This is the whole basis of Main Street; this is what we will base all of our future plans and development on," said Karen Greenspoon, coordinator of the Payson Main Street program. "It's the beginning stages that everyone's been waiting for.

"We've been holding off on doing any architectural renderings, because (the State Resource Team) will show us how the existing businesses will be able to fit into the overall theme that's developed as a result of this visit."

The seven-member team comprised of representatives from the Department of Commerce, Valley architects and streetscape specialists, and California business consultants will be in town today through Friday. They will hold a series of 30 interviews with members of the town council, community leaders and hand-picked Payson residents which will help them determine their redevelopment concept of Main Street, Greenspoon said.

"A diverse cross section of Payson residents were chosen from every age group, business background and economic group for the interview process. In addition, several businesses were chosen for architectural renderings to show how the individual businesses can fit into the new street design."

A common misperception of the State Resource Team, Greenspoon said, is that, "They're going to come in and say, 'This is how we want Main Street done, and you have to conform.' Actually, the design is put together by the people of Payson through the interviews ... They have (to answer) a whole battery of questions about color, design and aesthetics that they ask; it's not just, 'What's your concept for Main Street?'"

This particular team, and others like it across the state and country, travel from town to town offering their advice, guidance and ideas, Greenspoon said.

"Right now, there are 21 Main Street programs under way just within Arizona. Different configurations of State Resource Teams have done much of the resource- and fact-finding efforts for many of those programs, because along with streetscapes and urban design, that's their specialty."

One member of the State Resource Team, Phoenix architect Don Ryden, has been to Payson before. "Ten years ago," Greenspoon said, "he did the inventory for the Historical Society. He's the one who put that report together, and he will be one of the head architects on this project."

In addition to the State Resource Team, Payson will be visited over the next few days by Valley and California marketing consultants who will show the owners of existing Main Street businesses different marketing and display techniques.

Meanwhile, several Main Street business buildings have been selected to be redesigned via architectural sketches to show how they will fit into the theme that is selected: Colorado Communications (formerly the bus barn at McLane Road and Main Street), Payson Sports and Equipment, the building now shared by the Zane Grey Museum and the new Payson Main Street/Payson Regional Economic Development office, The New Ewe and Arizona Coil.

Additionally, an area home that is now vacant and for sale is included in the renderings because, Greenspoon said, "They wanted to do a residential home to show how it can be converted design- and concept-wise into a business."

The State Resource Team's Main Street presentation will be made at the Mogollon Grille, 202 W. Main St., from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 7. There will be a 6 p.m. reception prior to the presentation. The general public is invited to attend and preview the designs.

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