Blue Ridge Water Back On Table

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The Blue Ridge Reservoir and the possibility of bringing its surface water to Payson could be one step closer to reality.

On Thursday night, the Payson Town Council will discuss authorizing town employees to develop and publish a request for proposals for the design of the Blue Ridge pipeline and water treatment plant, as well as allocating costs to the water enterprise fund.

Town Manager Fred Carpenter said discussion of bringing Blue Ridge Reservoir water to Payson has been ongoing for about 20 years.

He said that if the town were to build out, it would not have enough water.

The town has limited subdivisions to no more than 250 units in an attempt to conserve water.

While the engineering proposal would be a step toward securing water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir, it would be a small one.

"To me, I cannot see us being able to turn on the water taps (with water from the reservoir) for at least five years," the town manager said. "The pipeline construction itself will be at least 18 months."

He also said the town realizes that Congressman Rick Renzi is aware of this project and will work in Congress to help get the pipeline off the ground.

The cost of the entire project, excluding any interest, Carpenter said, will be between $25 million and $30 million.

Town beautification

The council, in a special meeting on Thursday, will listen to a presentation from Mark Frederickson, professor and director of the Tejido Group, college of architecture and landscape architecture from the University of Arizona.

Frederickson will discuss Payson's cityscape signature with a plan to implement it.

Carpenter said this project will take a number of years and called the presentation "food for thought."

"Whatever guidelines we come up with will be what we follow when new buildings come on," he said.

A Mayor's Beautification Task Force has been meeting with the mandate to develop a realistic plan for the visual image of the town.

Another mayor's task force, the Design Review Task Force, will safeguard against the town changing too much.

The special meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. and the regular council meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Payson Town Hall.

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