The Zane Grey Cabin replica nearing completion at Green Valley Park and the opening of Deming Pioneer Park were the two most visible accomplishments for the Main Street Program in 2004.
Zane Grey Cabin
In the few short months since ground was broken in August, the rebuilding of the famous novelist's cabin has moved along at a rapid pace and will be nearing completion in spring 2005.
More than 200 Rim country residents turned out for the groundbreaking and heard a succession of notables share their thoughts on the popular tourist attraction destroyed in 1990 by the Dude Fire.
To join the foundation or learn more about ways to contribute to construction and maintenance of the cabin, contact the foundation by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 3188, Payson, AZ 85547; or by phone at (928) 474-6115.
Deming Pioneer Park
On April 3, 2004, Payson matriarch Anna Mae Deming cut the ribbon officially opening Deming Pioneer Park.
The 5,434-square-foot park, at the northwest corner of Main Street and McLane Road, was named in honor of Deming and her late husband, James Deming. It occupies the same site as 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 framed by a facade recreation of Boardman's store, which was part stone and part wood.
Twenty-three display cases mounted on the Boardman's facade retell the stories of Payson's early days.
Other Main Street developments
- Early this year, the Payson Town Council approved dissolving the Main Street Board and transferred its responsibilities to the Green Valley Redevelopment Association Committee.
"In October, we had a strategic planning session and had about 30 people there and we decided if we can maintain the state (Main Street) designation why not have GVRA sit as the Main Street Board," McCauley said. "It eliminates a whole lot of duplication because Main Street lies within redevelopment anyway."
- The American Gulch Plan -- what many consider a key component of Main Street -- suffered a setback in February when a fiscal impact study determined the project was not economically feasible.
Former Town Councilor Dick Wolfe, chairman of the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee and a major proponent of the plan, took exception to the study.
About 75 percent of the 44-acre American Gulch sits in a flood plain. The plan would create a 200-foot wide channel running from Sawmill Crossing to Green Valley Park, effectively freeing 26 acres for new development.
It envisions private retail, office and condominium development, with pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths alongside the channel.
Wolfe said his committee will go back to the drawing board and try and bring a more streamlined plan before the council.
- McCauley said she wants to form a merchants committee this year that will work on joint marketing ventures and generally support one another. She said she would like to see at least four to six merchant-driven events on Main Street each year. Ideas include a farmers market and a series of monthly social gatherings along the line of the chamber of commerce mixers.
- The extension of Westerly Road between Aero Drive and Main Street, scheduled to be completed this summer, will include a 75-car parking lot, McCauley said.
Despite a lot of challenges, McCauley is optimistic about the future of Main Street.
"What's exciting is that Main Street is kind of the underdog, and we've got some real scrappy businesses," she said. "If we can get those businesses together, they'll be a group to be contended with."