In the Roundup issue of Nov. 15, 2002, a very interesting article appeared, entitled "Retirees key to region's economic stability." This article was based on an economic study of rural Arizona. Quoting a few pertinent facts from this study as follows:
"Retirement is probably the most cost effective type of economic development."
"Perhaps the greatest opportunity for new economic growth comes from attracting retirees to the region."
"If you attract retirees, the amenities that serve them and also serve everybody else - the grocery stores, medical facilities and restaurants - will follow."
"Another advantage to a strong retiree base is that it puts minimal strain on local resources."
This study tells us plainly that in order to get "the millions of dollars needed to pay" for water, streets, and fire protection, we need to base our economic development on the service businesses that support our retirement neighbors.
How large is the group? If you get a copy of a data sheet of the U.S. Census report for Payson of the year 2000, and do some simple calculations, you will find some important information concerning our adult population:
Approximately 36 percent, or over one-third of our adults are over 65. Over 50 percent are 55 and over. Finally, over 60 percent are 50 and over. This means we have a majority of older adults in our town. Most of whom are retired.
What do we do? We have over 1,000 enfill lots with water rights for our construction industry. Many houses, old and new, need to be sold by our real estate industry. Home Depot is coming to town with jobs, sales tax and other goodies. We need to attract other businesses with sales tax such as a Target store. All this economic development enhanced to a large extent by our retirement community.
The millions of dollars needed for the betterment of Payson will come from these businesses attracted by retirees who put minimal strain on our local resources.
Bill Michaelis, Payson