In-Town Trail System Will Take Vision, Faith

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Build it and they will come. It's a line from a movie that quickly turned into a meaningless cliché from overuse. But it remains true.

It takes a bit of faith in order to move forward on projects that have an uncertain outcome, but we believe that residents should show that faith in the Community Trails System, proposed by Payson Town Councilor Andy Romance.

As we examine Payson with our mental eye, we picture Green Valley Park. It is the jewel of Payson. It is a gathering place for families. People walk around the lake, enjoying the weather and the chance to exercise, at all hours of the day. The lake is stocked and many fishermen spend endless hours at its shores.

In the Roundup's annual "Best of Payson" poll, Green Valley Park has won "Best place to walk" 10 years in a row.

But as we think about the park and what an asset it is to our community, we also remember the many naysayers who questioned the project's value a decade ago. We remember those who predicted that no one would use it, those who voted against it and those who said it was a waste of money.

And if we had listened to those voices more than 10 years ago, Payson would have missed out on what has become a visual cornerstone of our town.

As we continue to scan Payson, there are other amenities that required foresight, leadership and a grassroots effort to put into place. The off-leash dog area at Rumsey Park is a good example.

The dog park is a social hub for pet owners and a piece of Payson of which we are very proud.

But that park took work and it took faith.

Using the firebreak that now surrounds Payson as a footprint, Andy Romance has a plan for a network of trails that would make the town more pedestrian-friendly.

The network will look something like a wagon wheel, with the firebreak as the perimeter. From there, the network would include a series of spokes -- pedestrian-friendly streets and urban pathways -- that would tentacle through the town, meeting at a common hub.

The plan attempts to improve the pedestrian and bicycle experience, providing comfortable access to residential areas, commercial centers and the national forest.

Our town is surrounded by national forest, but many may not feel comfortable walking down forest trails by themselves. The proposed project would provide a safe, urban trail network that would allow many to enjoy the forest without the fear that comes along with the unknown.

We are in full support of this project and we encourage all officials, town staff and residents to show faith in a plan that could bring a marked improvement to the quality of life of this area.

For a complete description of the project, read "In-town trail system to provide exercise, restore rural feel to Payson" published in the Nov. 24 edition of the Roundup.

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