The Town of Payson is one step nearer to revamping the southern area of town.
At last Thursday night's council meeting, the council approved a lease agreement with Hospitality Support Group, a developer planning a 150-room Hilton hotel, 10,000-square-foot conference center and two-level restaurant on 10 acres in the rodeo grounds.
The council voted 6-0 on the motion, which, pending financing arrangements, means that construction could begin as early as May 2008.
Bruce Berres of HSG said, barring any unforeseen circumstances, construction would begin in November 2008 at the latest.
Berres estimated that the hotel and conference center would be open by February 2010. His goal, he said, would be for the center to be open in May 2009.
"I'd like for it to be open a year from May," he said.
The lease agreement is for a period of 35 years, with two successive 10-year renewal options.
Mayor Bob Edwards said he wanted the fire damage and liquor insurance increased to protect the town's interests in the project, before agreeing to the lease. Edwards also wanted the town to receive an audit report each year.
Berres said those conditions were "not a problem."
Councilor Andy Romance was not present for the meeting.
In other news:
- New Tourism and Economic Vitality Director Cameron Davis was introduced. Davis began his first day with the town Nov. 1, and said he was excited to "return to the mountains."
- John Stanton, who had been named Interim Manager of the Chamber of Commerce last Wednesday, after former Director Tina Bruess was let go, announced that the "‘interim' had been removed." Stanton said he would be meeting with chamber members in the next two months and is looking to move forward.
- The council voted 5-0 to approve the town sign code, as it relates to temporary town signs.
- The council voted 5-0 to approve an intergovernmental agreement with Gila County for a new recycling program. The county will be in charge of picking up paper recycling materials from Payson, provided it approves the agreement.
- The council voted 5-0 to direct staff to look into alternate traffic calming devices and the hazard of parking on the street for the intersection of East Phoenix Street and South Elk Ridge Drive. The intersection had previously been slated for a four-way stop.
- Councilor Mike Vogel left the meeting after a vote on the hotel lease agreement, due to a prior engagement.