The Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) and the new Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation (SGCEDC) met for the first time in Payson last month.
"We have some issues in common," said Dr. Barbara Ganz, executive director of the PREDC. "There may be opportunities to work together to help find solutions."
"It makes perfect sense," said Chris Martin, executive director of the SGCEDC. "We all live in the same county and what benefits one organization will benefit the other and all of Gila County."
Five of the seven SGCEDC board members, including President Ed Carpenter, Vice President Mike Devaney, Secretary Lucius Smith, Supervisor Shirley Dawson, Bill Marshall of Arizona Public Service and Martin made the trip to Payson. Representing the PREDC were Dr. Ganz, PREDC Vice President Dr. Christine Harrison, Payson Town Councilor Susan Connell and PREDC President Jan Parsons.
Lack of attainable low- to moderate-income housing is a problem for virtually all of Gila County and that is one issue that both groups will work together to solve.
The SGCEDC is conducting a housing survey to determine what Southern Gila County citizens expect in housing development. Northern Gila County has a group doing similar things. The groups also discussed working together in efforts to attract new businesses and to consider working together on road improvements, land acquisition and similar issues that may emerge.
"We are working regionally to help Gila County," Carpenter said. "We are involved with the Copper Corridor Regional Economic Development group, and organizations in Pinal County. We are thrilled to be working with our friends in Payson to help all of Gila County."
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the northern and southern parts of Gila County to work together on issues that affect all of us. We hope to develop a mutually beneficial partnership and promote solutions which will be beneficial to the entire county," Parsons said.
APS has agreed to facilitate upcoming Focus Future sessions with the PREDC and the SGCEDC. These sessions should provide the identification of common issues in Northern and Southern Gila County for common efforts.