The right medicine is not always easy to swallow. But it's time for Payson to take two economic development aspirin and call for a morning of change.
Pill No. 1: Like it or not, an effective economic plan of action for our town needs to include the ability to attract events that bring tourist dollars to our local businesses, which, in turn, provide for the families that make up our vital community workforce.
Last weekend, Payson hosted the annual Gary Hardt Memorial PRCA Rodeo. Saturday evening, just as the opening ceremonies were getting under way, mother nature took the opportunity to remind us that our event arena does not provide cover from sun or rain. As the rain poured down and continued throughout the evening, most of the audience decided it just wasn't worth being there. That's what event promoters will say, especially in the ever-increasing competitive environment of Arizona events. Even though Payson is in an ideal location with cooler temperatures, and situated on a major highway north of Phoenix, concerts and events will continue to be held elsewhere until we're truly prepared to stage them.
Pill No. 2: Our town needs good industry. Businesses like the Door Stop cabinet manufacturing firm are going to tire of the constant uphill battle they must fight to relocate to Payson. Some companies are undesirable; but clean, proven companies that seem to be sincere in their reasons for selecting the Rim country must be given a more welcome greeting. Even if specific water or land requirements are necessary, there needs to be a spirit of cooperation and invitation rather than a barrage of opposition and closed-mindedness. If not, these companies, like the tourist-attracting events will simply go elsewhere. This may be the goal for some to send them packing. We have the prescription for success, but we haven't filled it.
Of course, there are many ways a town can help an ailing economy, but these two remedies are symbolic of the types of actions we need to take for a healthier economy.