This weekend, hordes of motorists will be making a beeline from the Valley of the Heatstroke to the cool pines of Payson.
Yes. The word is out. The forests are open, and the Rim country is once again the playground of central Arizona.
Did we really need to spend $75,000 of the taxpayers' money to get tourists here?
It seems a little like the farmer inviting the fox into the henhouse. The invitation isn't necessary; the fox will take its earliest opportunity to pounce on the unsuspecting chickens in any case.
And what did we get for our $75,000? A 15-inch advertisement in the Arizona Republic, smack dab in the middle of the national news briefs, featuring a picturesque view of ... Woods Canyon Lake?
Yes, Woods Canyon Lake.
That's a bit like Glendale promoting itself with a picture of Camelback Mountain.
If you are going to throw away taxpayers' money promoting Payson to people who are going to come here anyway, how about this for a novel idea: Use a picture of Green Valley Park Lake. Use a picture of the Mogollon Rim towering over the town. Use a picture of something within 30 miles of the Payson town limits.
It's not hard to imagine Valley rubberneckers showing up on our doorstep with a copy of that ad in hand, asking how to get to that lovely spot that we are promoting as our own.
"Well, go east on Highway 260 and drive," we will have no choice but to reply. "If you reach Show Low, you've gone too far. By the way, welcome to Payson."
We realize that the $75,000 was spent on a last-ditch effort to save Payson's slumping economy, and we applaud the intent if not the actual expense.
However, next time someone comes up with a knee-jerk solution that involves our money, we must ask ourselves, "Is it really worth it?"
In this case, we think the money was poorly spent.