At a cost of $5,000 each, two new signs will soon mark the entrance to "Historic Main Street" at its intersection with Highway 87.
The 16-foot-long curved stucco signs will be framed on the ends by Ponderosa pine logs and topped by a black metal cowboy atop a bucking horse. They will be located on both sides of Main Street at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce office and Whiting Brothers gas station.
The cowboy represents the Main Street origin of Payson's August Doin's rodeo, the logs represent the logging industry, and a peak at the center of the sign represents the Rim country, according to Main Street Project Manager Karen Greenspoon. The signs were designed and will be built by McIntyre Construction.
The motivation behind the project is twofold.
"There is no signage down there that designates Main Street, and we've also had complaints about the sandwich board signs that some of the Main Street merchants use to advertise their businesses to passing motorists," Greenspoon said.
While the sandwich boards will be eliminated by the gateway signs, Greenspoon defended their use by Main Street merchants.
"You have to understand the business side of it," she said. "They don't have any way to advertise their businesses to the traffic that goes by."
Greenspoon is seeking private donations to finance the new gateway signs.
"I approached first all the banks and asked if they would contribute to the gateway signage," she said.
So far Bank One has donated $2,500; Kaibab Industries, owner of Sawmill Crossing, has pledged $1,500; and the owners of the recently reopened Ox Bow Saloon have also promised to make a contribution. No town money will be used.
If the $10,000 can be raised in time, Greenspoon hopes to have the signs in place sometime this fall.
"We'd like to catch some of the winter ski traffic that goes through here," she said.
Animal clinic ahead of schedule
Other recent developments on Main Street include rapid progress on the new building that will house Dr. Patti Blackmore's Pine Country Animal Clinic.
"The completion date is now the end of October, so they're ahead of schedule by about a month," Blackmore said.
The new building, similar to the territorial-style architecture of Stockmen's Bank, is going up between Main Street Paint and Lincoln Garage Door. The 3,200-square-foot structure includes 800 square feet of separate retail space that is currently available for lease.
"When Patti decided to move to Main Street, one of the things she agreed to do was to put in retail space," Greenspoon said. "Her building is going to be a real asset to the concept that's coming together on Main Street."
New gift shop opening Aug. 31
Another new business scheduled to open soon on Main Street is Mountain Air, a gift shop owned by Steve Christensen.
"We're going to have a variety of things, but it will have the tone or connotation of that woodsey, cabiney, lodgey sort of thing," Christensen said. "We'll have things for your home, decorative things, and then we're also going to be doing Payson things like T-shirts and caps."
Christensen also owns Tonto Rim Silk Screening.
Mountain Air will be next door to the Ox Bow Saloon at 605 W. Main Street in the building that previously housed Printing by George.
The store's grand opening is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31.
"We're working hard on remodeling," he said. "We may not be completely ready on the 31st, but we're going to open."
Christensen said he has been considering opening a Main Street business for some time.
"I think it's going to work out," he said. "As more people like us go down there, we will feed off each other. I think it will be a destination, a place where people can go and park and shop for several blocks. It's on the way to the lakes at Green Valley Park."