The Payson Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for more than 120 acres of park land in Payson.
In the past fiscal year, the department has had more than double the population of Payson participate in its programs and swim in the cool waters of Taylor Pool.
At Green Valley Park in 2004, the town added the picnic ramada and new gazebo by the war memorial, a rest room along the south end of the park, and an information kiosk, Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind said.
These final touches were made possible by $150,000 in funding obtained from a State Lake Improvement Grant through the Arizona State Parks and the Heritage Fund.
The state-of-the-art playing field at Rumsey Park near the library is complete except for the bleachers. The Mogollon Sporting Association donated the money for the seating.
The parks department is prolific in the programs it offers to all ages for recreation.
The town's bus tours always fill up fast. For instance, the town had to order a bigger bus for the March trip to Laughlin. A recent trip to a dinner theater to see a musical was a great success. The next planned tour is a scenic drive to Tucson's Sabino Canyon in April.
Adult sports include a basketball league and a separate basketball tournament, a co-ed softball league and a softball umpire clinic.
Youngsters throughout the Rim country can be found shooting hoops, running down the soccer field trying to score a goal and playing T-ball. There is slow-pitch softball for girls and the Pepsi co-sponsored Pitch, Hit and Run Baseball Skills Competition.
Schwind said he's happy to have the support of the nonprofit group, Friends of Parks and Recreation. In 2004, the group raised money for sports scholarships for underprivileged children in addition to monies that went to purchase benches around the park and other smaller things the parks needed.
Payson's Old-West heritage is not only a huge part of the history of Payson, it is alive and thriving today.
In 2004, 132 people participated in equestrian events. According to recreation specialist Charlene Hunt, they expect more competitors in this summer's events.
"We start in June with Thursday night barrel and pole bending competition," she said. "In August, we start a two-month series that is ‘progressive' in format. In other words, there are no age groups, people compete against times.
"We present lots of awards at the end of the two series. The programs are funded by the entry fees and have paid for themselves since their inception," she said.
"We will have a Fall Stampede Saturday, Oct. 1," Hunt added. "It is a day-long event of horseback competition for the family."
For more information, call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7, or log on to www.paysonparks.com.