The face of Main Street is changing, and project manager Karen Greenspoon is making sure you notice.
Some 10 signs that read "Another Main Street Project" have been placed in front of businesses currently being renovated or under construction. Most of the projects in progress are related to the $10,000 grants for facade, landscape and improvements recently awarded to 10 businesses.
Many of the grant recipients are putting additional money with the federally-funded community development block grants.
Minette Richardson, owner of Cuts & Stuf, has added an additional $10,000 of her own money.
"In addition, my husband and I have put about 450 hours of our time into the preliminary work," Richardson said, raising her voice to be heard over a worker's power saw.
"I don't mind paying somebody to build something, but I hate to pay somebody to tear things down," Richardson said.
When the work is completed on her property, it will sport new landscaping, a new sidewalk, a granite parking lot with anchored railroad ties, new siding on two sides of the building and a fresh coat of paint.
A few blocks east of Cuts & Stuf, J.D. Bell's Payson Auto Classics is a beehive of activity. Bell, who lives in the Valley, stops working just long enough to explain what customers can expect when his combination classic car memorabilia shop and 50s diner opens.
"It's really two businesses. I've been in the car business and I've been in the restaurant business, and this is a combination of the two Goober's Garage with a diner," said the South Dakota native.
"It's an antique store for guys," Bell said.
"Some people get the concept and some don't."
More specifically, Bell is turning the front end of his shop into a reproduction of an old Kaiser Frazer automobile dealership, complete with a classic 1953 Kaiser Frazer automobile and a variety of antique gasoline pumps.
He is also installing an authentic soda fountain, complete with black and white-tiled countertop and a waffle cone maker.
"When people walk in, I want them to be taken back to a time when things were a lot better. I can make a better malt, a better hamburger, better french fries than anybody," he said.
Bell, who has been working on the project for about a year, has put $30,000 of his own money into it. The facade grant was used to stucco the exterior building and install new doors.
In all, two of the facade/landscaping projects are completed, six are in progress, and two are being re-bid. Besides Cuts & Stuf and Payson Auto Classics, the businesses who received the $10,000 grants are Byrne Auto, Somewhere in Time Antiques, Payson Sports Equipment, Colorado Communications (located in the old school bus barn), Natural Wellness (formerly known as Sunrise Chiropractic), Ray's Automotive, Highline Engineering and Rustix Furnishings.
Greenspoon said the fact that so many of the businesses on Main Street are willing to supplement the grants is in keeping with the thinking of several council members, including Mayor-elect Ken Murphy, who believe private investment is the key to the success of the project.
She said that those opposed to accepting grant money are not only shortsighted, but also mistaken in the notion that it costs taxpayers more.
"When you pay your federal taxes, a portion goes to grants and each state gets its share. If we don't get it, then Sedona (or somebody else) will."
Here's an update on other Main Street projects:
OX BOW INN
Recently purchased by Roy and Beverly Nethken, the historic structure is scheduled to be renovated in three phases. By July 31, the Nethkens hope to re-open the Ox Bow Saloon, including the main bar, a more intimate piano bar, and an open courtyard for music, dancing and weddings. Phase two has a November 30 completion date and includes a dinner theater and Texas-style barbecue restaurant. A third phase, with an estimated completion date of spring of 2003, will include seven gift shops, including leather-crafted goods, western wear, and a candle shop.
The Ox Bow was recently declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, the nation's official list of properties considered worthy of preservation. If accepted the Ox Bow will join such notable state structures as the San Javier del Bac mission near Tucson and the Goodfellow Lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge, the only area building on the list.
PINE COUNTRY ANIMAL CLINIC
Construction is scheduled to begin in the next few days on Dr. Patti Blackmore's new facility. She is planning a 3,200-square foot structure that will have separate retail space.
The new clinic will be built on a vacant site between Main Street Paint and Lincoln Garage Door.
HIGH DESERT DENTISTRY
Construction is scheduled to begin in about 30 days on the new offices of High Desert Dentistry, across the street from its current location at 404 W. Main Street. When the new facility is completed, hopefully by the fall of 2002, High Desert will go from four surgical suites to eight. Dr. Thomas Mattern, who owns the practice, hopes to add a second dentist and more specialties.
The facility, which will incorporate wood and stone to maintain the territorial look, will also have two upstairs apartments.
The three story log structure that will house a gun shop on the site of the old Winchester Saloon is nearing completion.
Owners Mike and Marta Pollick are moving their business from St. Johns.
According to Karyn Nelsen of Karik Construction, the local company that is building the new gunshop, complementary log structures will eventually be built on adjoining lots.
"What's really neat is that we can put cafe tables in front, and do a lot of things like that," Nelsen said. "We plan to have a cowboy-type covered wooden sidewalk running along the front of all the buildings."