If the folks in Payson wish to isolate themselves and revert back to the economy of the mid-20th century, then go ahead and make the airport and its jet-capable runway an RV and boat storage facility. If the town of Payson wishes to compete with other communities to attract small, clean industry to support the economy and provide jobs, then expand the airport.
I fly to Payson several times a month to deliver specialty medical care to the community -- so do several other medical specialists.
While on the tarmac, I have noted blood product being flown in, daily express freight scheduled service, chartered business flights, law enforcement flights, and, of course, fire fighting activities. Also of importance are the tourist/pleasure flights, whose passengers eat in local restaurants and stay in local motels. Many of these flights buy fuel and pay the attached city fees on the fuel.
Professional airport planners and regional developers estimate that for every dollar brought in by air, the local economy is expanded by $10. That's not a bad deal. This is a much better return on the town's investment than other local government activities. It makes money for the town, and allows vital services to be delivered. It supports the local economy and is a vehicle to allow future development of business and industry that this town needs.
To the writer that views the airport as a place for rich boy toys, look out your window and see the miles of RVs and toy haulers. Those are toys. Look at the airport, those planes are tools. These tools can, and should be used to build, service and protect your town.
Charles T. Crinnian, MD, Phoenix