Council Gets Main Street Education

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Last week, the town council heard about gathering public information and planning how to best use it to enhance Payson's economy.

It was all part of a presentation June 27 by Karen Greenspoon, Main Street project manager, and Libby Leggit, chairman of the project's economic revitalization committee.

Greenspoon said Eastern Arizona College did 510 surveys for the project to find out what residents went out of town to buy.

She said using this information and national data, the Main Street project has definitive material the economic revitalization committee can work with to help existing and new businesses.

Greenspoon said the statistics from the EAC work are a good representation of the age and income profile of the community.

Putting a figure to it, about 212 people said they always bought clothes and shoes out of town, resulting in a loss of $26,673 in sales tax, Greenspoon said.

Leggit talked about the goals of the economic revitalization committee, which includes Paul Bates, Scott Flake, Ron Lodge, Sue McIntyre, Judy Miller, Ray Schum, Ralph Vocker and Gordon Whiting.

"Its purpose is to work with existing and new businesses and property owners to organize and provide information to assist them in business development and aid in the process of revitalizing our restored Main Street," Leggit said.

She said she and the committee members have spent several months identifying six goals:

1. Set up the Main Street office as a one-stop shop for business and property owners to have business cards, brochures and information on programs, funding, volunteers, loans and real estate sales.

2. Market and property analysis to determine what businesses need to come into the area and what businesses there are already plenty of, so there are facts. Survey all property owners to gather information on the status of Main Street businesses and properties.

3. Integrate public and private funding resources and work on looking at a revolving loan fund.

4. Look at lobbying for tax increment funding.

5. Actively work on business recruitment.

6. Develop educational programs for existing businesses as well as new businesses.

Leggit said sub-committees were organized within the economic revitalization committee to implement the goals.

The sub-committees are: business relations and education, with Judy Miller; real estate sales, with Paul Bates and Leggit; finance, Ray Schum; business recruitment, Ron Lodge, Scott Flake and Gordon Whiting; and development services with Ralph Vocker and Sue McIntyre.

"Revitalization is about property, it is about people, but more importantly it is about pride, pride in our heritage and pride in our community," Leggit said.

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