Main Street Program Garners 10 Nominations

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Payson's Main Street project garnered 10 nominations for the 2004 Main Street Awards competition.

The annual competition, held in conjunction with the Governor's Rural Development Conference, is open to the state's 20 designated Main Street communities. Winners will be announced at a special dinner during the conference Oct. 6 to 8 at Lake Havasu City.

"We have them for almost every category," said Main Street manager Carol McCauley. "They'll all be printed up in very nice booklets, and the governor will actually give out the awards."

The Payson nominees are:

Best Special Event

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Main Street was packed for the Rim Country Classic Auto Club Car Show. The event, which featured 287 autos and attracted over 4,000 people, was nominated for Best Special Event in the 2004 Main Street Awards competition.

Rim Country Classic Auto Club Car Show

With its normal venue unavailable, the Rim Country Classic Auto Club staged its 11th Annual Charity Car Show on Main Street. With 287 entrants, the show attracted 4,000 spectators and raised $11,500 for 11 different charities.

"The club is committed to returning to Main Street again next year," McCauley said. "They were all very pleased with the support that the businesses and the town in general afforded them."

Best Public/Private Partner

Town of Payson/Design Review Regulations

The town saw a need for some type of design criteria that would reflect the historic feel of Main Street. After months of working with town staff, the Design/Review Committee drafted a new ordinance that sailed through the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Payson Town Council.

"We now have the tool to maintain, as well as create, the historic ambience that is the vision for Main Street," McCauley said.

Main Street Individual of the Year

Dick Wolfe

The former town councilor's passion for Main Street began in 1998 when he chaired the original Main Street Committee. He campaigned on the revitalization of Main Street and supported the program through his four-year term. He was the driving force behind Deming Pioneer Park, and is currently president of the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation, which is dedicated to replicating that structure, destroyed by the Dude Fire, in Green Valley Park.

"Dick has been unrelenting in his support of new and existing businesses on Main Street," McCauley said, "and he will continue to do so as a private citizen."

Most Creative Fund-raiser

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Mad Dawg's and Mel's Bar & Eatery was nominated for Most Creative Fund-raiser in the 2004 Main Street Awards competition. Owners Madeline Manchio and Melanie McCarthy held a fund-raiser luncheon for the Payson Humane Society, to which attendees were invited to bring their dogs.

Mad Dawg's and Mel's Restaurant

To help raise funds for the Payson Humane Society, this Main Street eatery held a special "Bring Your Dog to Lunch" event to which people were literally invited to bring their own dogs. The luncheon attracted over 100 people and 35 dogs. A special menu included Milk Bone biscuits and sugar-free ice cream.

"The positive PR the event generated helped build an awareness of Main Street as the kind of place where our community comes together," McCauley said.

Best Historic Rehabilitation

Body Elegance Day Spa

When Shelley Wayland and her husband purchased the Stewart house to relocate her expanding business, the house and grounds were in disrepair. Rehabilitation of the home paid attention to preserving its historic features. Items of interest in the red sandstone house, such as original wall coverings and old newspaper editions, were framed with historic notations to show the home's heritage.

"The preservation and beautification of this old home creates a snapshot of the area's early housing," McCauley said.

Best Facade Renovation Under $25,000

Rim Country Printery

Originally a dance hall, this 1882 building came complete with gun ports and doubled as a fort that locals retreated to when warnings came of Apache renegades on the warpath. During prohibition, it was pool hall known as The Dive, with moonshine for sale in the back room. It was the building's storied past that led Rim Country Printery owners Tom and Nicole McCorgary to it.

"With help from the Main Street Program, a Community Development Block Grant, and their own money and steely determination, they took the old and tired building with a glorious yet sometimes shady past and turned it back into a viable, living entity," McCauley said.

Best Public Improvement Project

Deming Pioneer Park

For the last half century, the site where the park now sits had been home to three railroad boxcars, but at one time it was occupied by J.W. Boardman's Mercantile Store. Built in 1898, Boardman's was the first non-wood building in Payson. It also was the town's first bank and post office and was home to the town's official clock.

The park is now framed by a facade re-creation of Boardman's store, which was part stone and part wood. It features 23 lighted display cases that depict the Rim country's colorful history.

"Deming Park has strong educational and entertainment components to it," McCauley said. "Both local citizens and visitors benefit from the engrossing tales it expresses about the region and its people."

Best Economic Restructuring Story

Wants & Wishes

This antique and gift shop took over the historic 1915 Chilson home vacated by an engineering firm. The transition from a professional service business to a retail store represents a critical dynamic change for Main Street. Owner Linda Lessard continued the renovation already under way, transforming the home into a quaint gift shop by using the bedrooms, living and dining rooms, back porch and yard to display giftware, clothes and antiques.

"Main Street welcomes a business that has made a significant effort to preserve, restore and honor its historic past while providing much needed economic activity for today and the future," McCauley said.

Business Excellence Award

Sawmill Crossing Center

The Whiting family, longtime Payson residents, created the Sawmill Crossing Shopping Center on the site of a historic sawmill. Today, the shopping center serves as Main Street's flagship, and the Whiting family has proven its dedication to the community in many ways.

"In all aspects of character, business expertise, historic preservation, dedication to the community and charity from the heart, the Whiting family and Sawmill Crossing is business excellence at its finest," McCauley said.

Best Promotional Materials

Payson Roundup

The Payson Roundup has supported the Main Street program, doing articles on new businesses as they open as well as other stories on special events and new developments. The Roundup's annual Tourism/Visitors Guide featured an overview of Main Street, along with a special section just for Main Street advertisers.

"The Main Street board felt that there are few relationships more important than a positive relationship with the local newspaper," McCauley said. "The Payson Roundup has been incredibly supportive of the Payson Main Street Program."

The state legislature established the Main Street Program with the Arizona Department of Commerce to stimulate the preservation and revitalization of downtown areas in smaller communities statewide.

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