The Focused Future II program has a new vision for Payson. Residents and community leaders spent many hours this past year creating a guide for the town's future development.
The plan presented by the team outlines goals and strategies to successfully address community and economic development. Titled the "Payson Action Plan," the report identifies six areas that will provide the framework for focusing on areas that must be addressed to implement the community's vision:
- Building a stronger community
- Business development
- Visitor attraction and retention
- Quality education and work force development
- Strengthening community infrastructure
- Preserving heritage and natural environment
The action areas were cleverly outlined in a skit written by Jan Parsons of the Payson Arizona Public Service office and presented at an Aug. 24 barbecue at Rumsey Park. At the program's conclusion, people were asked to sign up to assist in one or more of the six areas.
"We have never had a better response," said Sally Odette, a development specialist with APS who assisted in the planning process, as she watched people line up to put their names on the lists.
She added that Parsons' skit was one of the most entertaining ways she has ever seen the program presented. A number of community leaders, from the town, schools and business participated in the presentation.
The next step for the Focused Future II program is implementation, said Scott Flake, director of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corp., which is one of the four agencies responsible for putting the plan in place.
In addition to drafting a new vision for Payson and creating a guide for development, the team identified the top values that sets Payson apart. These include:
- Care about each other as a community
- Heritage of the area
- Surrounding forest setting
- Excellent schools
- Safe community
"Focused Future II is an advanced economic and community development strategic planning process that looks at economic and community development techniques," Odette said, adding that the heart of the process is an active, broad-based citizen and stakeholder committee called the Focused Future Action Team.
Payson was one of only six communities in the state selected to participate in the FFII program, Odette said. More than 200 residents took part in at least a portion of the process. In addition to PREDC, other agencies responsible for implementation will be the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Green Valley Redevelopment Area/Payson Main Street, and the town of Payson.
For more information about helping with the implementation call any of these groups: PREDC (928) 468-6659; Chamber (928) 474-4515; Payson Main Street Program (928) 468-6074; town of Payson (928) 474-5242.
The vision for Payson
"Payson is a well-planned community that serves as a vibrant regional center attracting people of all ages for services, commercial and recreational activities, and the quality of life. The community provides a full range of housing lifestyles and has an outstanding education system that supports the community's needs. Payson has successfully balanced growth and economic development while retaining it's small town quality-of-life. As a community we value: Our rich heritage, beautiful forest setting, quality education and safety. We are proud to call Payson home and our children are able to live, work, play and stay to raise their families."