Town Puts Focus On Future

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The Payson Town Council will provide its input on the proposed final draft of the Focused Future II plan at a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday evening.

The program, sponsored by Arizona Public Service, uses APS consultants who work with a broad-based citizen action team to develop a strategic plan for economic development. Besides Payson, communities chosen by APS to develop plans due to growth and development include Casa Grande, Cottonwood, Douglas, Goodyear, Surprise, and Prescott Valley.

"APS does this because they feel anything they do to improve economic development in a community allows them to sell more power," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "That's why they are great economic development partners wherever they go in the state of Arizona."

The plan the Payson council will see Thursday evening is built on a framework of six focus areas where Payson must direct its attention. They are:

  • Building a strong community
  • Business development
  • Visitor attraction and retention
  • uality education and work force development
  • Strengthening community infrastructure
  • reserve heritage and natural environment

The plan notes that water availability is "one overriding issue that has not fully been solved that may impact the community's effort."

Scott Flake, director of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation and a key participant in the study, explained the action team's decision to press ahead.

"We felt there's no sense saying there's no water, so we can't do anything." Flake said. "I don't think there is anything in (the plan) that necessarily is stymied without the water situation being resolved."

Flake noted another problem confronting the town's economic development goals.

"Another issue we face is land," he said. "There's not enough industrial-type land for development, but you don't just close up shop because there are challenges. You look for ways around them."

The meeting will begin with a formal presentation by APS consultant Peggy Fiandaca, followed by discussion and input from the council.

"Hopefully the consultant will take that back, make some changes if necessary, call an action team meeting if it's really big, and then we'll come back at some point in the not too distant future with a resolution to approve the Focus Future Plan," Carpenter said.

The plan will basically serve the town as a blueprint.

"You follow it, and every year you report what you've done on the plan, and you fine tune it as you go along," he said.

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