Council Votes To Revive Statue Effort

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The Payson Town Council voted Thursday evening to revive the effort that includes a bronze-elk statue as part of the Tyler Parkway roundabout, but opted not to pay for adding decorative boulders to the site.

The council had not been prepared to provide the estimated $31,000 dollars needed to move the boulders.

Vice Mayor Judy Buettner said she was surprised at the high estimate for moving a few boulders and suggested the town explore other options like moving the boulders itself.

Town Engineer LaRon Garrett said the town does not own the equipment necessary to move the boulders so an outside contractor would have to be hired.

Council member George Barriger was also opposed to the town paying to move boulders without having the freedom to place the elk statue in the roundabout.

"If ADOT is going to control what's in the roundabout why should we spend any money on putting things into it," Barriger said.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) killed the town's petition to place the elk statue in the middle of the roundabout at a council meeting June 21, saying it would encourage pedestrians to cross the street to take pictures with the elk.

The Payson Gateway Project, the group behind the elk design, asked Garrett to revisit the issue of the elk statue because they felt ADOT's concerns were unfounded. The group, headed by Jeanie Langham, pointed to other cities that have decorative roundabouts, like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which don't pose safety problems.

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