My wife and I moved here from Atlanta to retire. We had considered the move for years, and decided that Arizona was definitely the best state -- but which town? Many scouting trips later, after visiting and evaluating every city, town and community, we knew for sure that Payson was "The Place."
The natural beauty is second to none. The clean air and cool nights are an invitation to live forever. The people and amenities are as nice as it gets. It's just a complete package -- a short, beautiful drive from Phoenix/Scottsdale -- but a world apart.
It is truly special and unique. It lacks only one thing to ensure that it will remain that way -- a soul.
I recently attended a meeting of the town council, and I was impressed. It is a fine body -- every seat containing a representative of intelligence and character. Integrity and fairness were evident in every consideration. A vote was taken as to whether to "ask" the Arizona Department of Transportation to "please" re-consider their rejection of a proposal to place a bronze statue of an elk in a roundabout (at the entrance to The Home Depot). The vote was in the affirmative 7 to 0. If that's the last you ever hear of this, then you, too, will know that Payson has a good town council, but is lacking a soul.
Whether an elk statue is erected or not, this town has a right and an obligation to step forward now and claim its heart and soul for its own.
Payson is not a destination. It should be. There is plenty here (or could be) to attract overnight visitors and vacationers -- people who, for now, fill up their gas tanks, grab a quick snack and head somewhere else.
Payson has no unique identity outside of Payson -- not because there is nothing here, but because there is very little energy to develop and promote it. Maybe that's just fine with some folks, but it favors special interests to the detriment of the town as a whole. Individual segments benefit. Too many just hang on.
This town is too good to just "get by."
Where is the vision and leadership to circle the wagons and take a stand for unique quality and civic pride? Where is the heart, the soul, of Payson?
Dare I ask -- where is the chamber of commerce?
Well, not at the town council meeting, anyway.
Noble Collins, Payson