Main Street Project Manager Karen Greenspoon's last day on the job will be June 27.
Greenspoon, who has held the position since January, 2000, has accepted a position as an economic development specialist for a small community in the Tucson area.
Payson will launch an immediate search for her successor.
"They have to put it out to town employees first," Greenspoon said. "Then it will go public if they don't have anybody qualified. It'll probably be a month before they find anybody."
Preserving Payson's past
During her tenure as the town's first Main Street manager, Payson's downtown revitalization took off. Numerous new structures included Pine Country Animal Clinic and PCW Guns, but it is the renovations of existing historic structures that Greenspoon points to with most satisfaction.
"We don't want to lose buildings," she said. "We want to keep buildings. We want to enhance what we've got."
A total of 14 Main Street structures received facade grants of either $10,000 or $20,000 over the past two years, including Cuts & Stuf, a hair salon owned by Minette Richardson.
"I understand what she's doing, but we really will miss her," Richardson said. "In going to the national convention in Fort Worth two years ago, I met a lot of Main Street managers from all over the United States and the world and Karen was regarded very highly by everybody I talked to, so we were very lucky to have her for the length of time we did."
New holiday tradition
Another major success for Greenspoon was the Electric Light Parade, an idea she brought with her from Show Low where she coordinated that town's Main Street program. After just two years, the event -- coordinated by Marilyn Wolfe -- has become solidly ensconced as a town holiday tradition.
Wolfe's husband, Dick, a town councilor and longtime Main Street supporter, said he was disappointment about Greenspoon's decision, but added he was confident that her momentum will be maintained.
"The old saying is that no one's irreplaceable and I guess that's true in this case too, but it's going to be very, very hard to replace her," Wolfe said. "She's just done so much for this town in a very short period of time. All one has to do is drive down Main Street to see her accomplishments. Our town just cannot do without a person like Karen very long."
Naysayers too noisy
Greenspoon said her time in Payson was mostly positive, but also noted that a small minority of Main Street naysayers have too much impact for their numbers.
"There have been some really good experiences and some really horrible experiences," she said. "There are several groups of people in this town that tried to make it very difficult for me, and it was very difficult the first year until I learned to ignore them.
"(These people) don't have solutions to problems, but want to create problems, not only for every project here but for everybody concerned. It's really unfortunate, because for every bad person, there are 100 good ones. They're just not the vocal ones."
Greenspoon said the best advice she could give her successor is to be strong.
"I would tell them not to pay attention to the few voices that are the constant negative voices, but to focus on the positive things and just keep everything in focus," she said.
Town remains committed
Although she's leaving, Greenspoon remains upbeat about Main Street's future.
"There are a lot of infill possibilities and new construction possibilities that are coming down the pike, and I've gotten promises from the town and from the council that they're going to keep this going even bigger and better than it was before," she said. "I'm only leaving to accept a better position and to be close to my grandchildren (who live in Tucson)."
Main Street, she emphasized, is as important to Payson's future as it was to its past.