Main Street Vision Gets A Push Forward

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The words "lack of parking" stuck out in red ink on an aerial map of Main Street.

Likewise, "historic buildings" and "memories" were etched in green marker as positive points about Payson's oldest street.

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Carolee Jackson concentrates on marking up the map at her roundtable discussion during a meeting of the Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee at Payson Town Hall, Thursday.

The comments were just a few of many positive and negative aspects of Main Street in Payson discussed at two visioning workshops held yesterday, Thursday.

Participants talked about the need to attract more businesses, shops and restaurants to the area.

They suggested a cohesive design for the street, including buildings, pedestrian walkways and landscaping. Some members mentioned the need to make Main Street a place where younger people would want to go.

These ideas and others about the type of personality Main Street could reflect were bounced around and Urban Designer Angela Dye was optimistic after the success of the exercises.

Dye and members from her architectural firm, A Dye Design, which has a contract with the Town of Payson for renovation of Main Street, facilitated the workshops for stakeholders, Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee members, town officials and concerned citizens.

Participants worked to formulate what Main Street means to them and the type of future design and visitor they'd like to see there.

With the ideas shared at the workshops, Dye said she would come back with "two or three concepts or physical displays."

The town already has a $315,000 grant -- $285,000 from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the remainder from town funding -- for the enhancement of pedestrian beautification on a portion of Main Main Street near Bootleg Alley.

"We do have a little bit of money," Dye said. "We need to decide how we want to use it."

ADOT Project Manager Bob Gasser offered advice about the appropriate ways to use the funds and the steps to take to maximize the chance of earning other grants.

"All of (today's ideas) fit with the transportation advancement program," he said at the earlier workshop.

"A lot of what you talk about is fundable."

The grant was awarded in 2003 with a three-year expiration period. Gasser said the town needed to show progress in order to keep the funding.

"As long as there's movement, that money is not in jeopardy," he said.

The workshops are evidence of movement, he added.

The next grant cycle begins in April 2008, Gasser said.

He suggested town officials begin preparing a grant application.

The town has a long way before renovation of a large portion of the street -- from Green Valley Park to Highway 87 -- could be realized, as some participants pointed out.

The overall morale was optimistic, however -- a good sign, after years of failed or postponed planning.

"This process has been a long time in the making," said Ken Volz, GVRA chair.

Community Development Director Jerry Owen echoed his thoughts.

"This is the start of a process," he said. "It couldn't happen fast enough for everyone in this room."

Dye said she would likely return at GVRA meetings with updates. She also said she has a tentative schedule with Owen.

"This is a really momentous milestone," Dye said. "This is your chance to think big."

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