Main Street Businesses Hope County Facilities Will Bring A Financial Boost


It's been a hot topic for the last several years -- how to attract business and tourists to Main Street.

The effort to improve the economy in Payson is focused first on its first street.

Main Street Grille owner John Back knows about the need for increased business. That's why he said he supports the proposed county facilities expansion on Highway 87 and Main Street.

"I'm looking at this project from a business perspective," he said.

"It will put a nice governmental anchor on Main Street."

Back said his business would benefit from the project.

"It will give people a reason to turn on Main Street," he said.

"We don't really have something attractive there now."

Back said after going through the research and reports from the jails committee meetings, the project makes the most sense.

"My extensive research points to one thing: this project and its financing are the best arrangement for citizens/taxpayers," he said in a letter sent to the Payson Roundup.

Though voters are not deciding on the location of the project and only the method of funding it, Back supports the site as well as the increased taxation.

"I think it will be good for all the folks on Main Street," he said.

"The business benefit is phenomenal."

Back said he would consider offering his parking lot at Main Street Grille for county parking, in the case of overcrowding, as some opponents have suggested.

"We would talk to the county, if they need more space and more help," he said.

Gordon Whiting, an owner of the Sawmill Crossing center across the street from the proposed complex said he, too, would be open to discussion for extra parking.

"We'd definitely be willing to take a look at that," he said.

"The biggest demand for us is the late afternoon and evening. If the county needed the parking during the day, we'd be open to discuss it."

Whiting said he supports the project because it would attract people to Main Street.

"In particular, the restaurants and retail would benefit with the activities associated with the county. No question it would be beneficial financially," he said.

In addition to the potential increase in visitation to the area, Whiting said the site is the most cost-effective.

"It's the best site possible for how economic construction will be, based on the county owning some of the buildings," he said.

Citizens for Improved Public Safety members tout the cost efficiency of the project.

Twelve of 13 members of the volunteer jails committee supported the financing methods included on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The jails committee also recommended the expansion of the current complex sites in Payson and Globe because of cost-effectiveness and time efficiency involved.

The location can be changed, Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin has said, if the county finds another as cost-effective as the Main Street-Beeline Highway location.

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