Main Street Projects Earn Top Honors

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Three Payson Main Street projects -- Pine Country Animal Clinic and Homespun Memories, Mad Dawg's and Mel's restaurant, and the Main Street entry monuments -- earned top honors last week in the 2003 Main Street Awards competition.

The town entered a total of 10 projects in the annual competition, held in conjunction with the Governor's Rural Development Conference. Twenty designated Main Street communities entered a total of 42 projects in 11 categories at the conference, which was held this year in Prescott.

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State awards for top Main Street Program projects came to Payson for its entry sign to Main Street; the new structure built by Dr. Patti Blackmore for her veterinary office and the Homespun Memories scrapbook shop; and Mad Dawg's and Mel's owners Madeline Manchio and Melanie McCarthy for their restructuring efforts that brought them to the old Journigan house for expansion.

Pine Country Animal Clinic and Homespun Memories took top honors in the New Main Street Business of the Year category.

The new building that houses Dr. Patti Blackmore's veterinary clinic and the scrapbook store that opened earlier this year, has already proven a boon to both businesses. Blackmore has experienced a 45 percent increase over the previous year, and Homespun Memories is already hiring additional employees.

The 3,200-square-foot building features a veranda and parapets consistent with 1890s architecture. Its exterior colors, warm yellow with rustic red accents, were chosen to provide a warm and welcoming environment with an eye-catching touch. Low water use landscaping was designed to further accent the colors of the building.

Total cost of the land, building, equipment and furniture was approximately $450,000.

"I didn't put up the building to win an award," Blackmore said, "but I think it's really neat. Main Street is coming right along."

Mad Dawg's and Mel's restaurant was named winner in the Best Economic Restructuring category.

Madeline Manchio and Melanie McCarthy opened Mad Dawg's and Mel's, a 1950s-themed diner featuring hot dogs, brats and Italian sausages, in the Payson Auto Classics building at 407 W. Main Street. Within six months it had outgrown the facility, and a lack of parking made it doubtful that it could ever realize its full potential.

When the opportunity came to move across Main Street to the restaurant previously operated as the Mogollon Grille in the historic Journigan house -- with much more seating capacity and a large parking lot -- the partners jumped at it.

With Mother Hubbard's Consignment Furnishings sharing the rent, the enlarged Mad Dawg's and Mel's is still cranking out its famous hot dogs, but has expanded its menu.

In addition to live music on the patio, the new occupants of the Journigan house hope to add to the culture of Main Street by offering artists and authors an additional venue for their works.

"Mad and I were thrilled and honored to receive such an award," McCarthy said.

The third Payson winner was the Main Street Entry Monuments, taking top honors in the Public/Private Partner category. Marking the entrance to "Historic Main Street" at its intersection with Highway 87, the 16-foot curved stucco gateway signs are framed by ponderosa pine logs and topped by a black metal cowboy atop a bucking horse. The signs are 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 Sawmill Crossing, and a peak at the center of the sign represents the Rim country.

The signs are illuminated by solar pack high intensity lighting. They were designed and built by McIntyre Construction at a cost of $11,752 -- entirely paid for by private donations.

New Main Street Project Manager Carol McCauley attended the conference. "I was very proud of Payson's Main Street for winning those awards," McCauley said. "If you could get there and see the competition, it's pretty hefty. These aren't giveaway awards. They're really earned."

Payson entered a total of 10 projects in the 2003 competition. In addition to the three winners, other entries included the Main Street Christmas Tree, Risser-Thomas Eye Clinic, Minette's Place Cuts & Stuf, Ox Bow Saloon, Main Street Illustrations, Town Tree Dedication and Lighting, and Marilyn Wolfe for Individual of the Year.

Other winners last week included:

  • Best Interior Renovation -- Van Gogh's Ear, Prescott
  • Best Facade Renovation Under $25,000 -- Pinal Food Market, Florence
  • Best Facade Renovation Over $25,000 -- Paramount Theatre, Casa Grande
  • Best Historic Rehabilitation -- Clarke House, Florence
  • Individual of the Year -- John Bradshaw, Sedona
  • Most Creative Fundraiser -- The Boys vs. the Bulls, Parker
  • Best Promotional Materials -- Sedona Main Street Program Brochure
  • Best Special Event -- 33rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, Sedona

Payson's Main Street Program won awards in 2002 and 2001.

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