Longtime Chairman Of Green Valley Redevelopment Committee Resigns


Dick Wolfe, a man who was instrumental in starting the Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee in 1998, resigned in September.

He served most of the past decade as GVRA's chairman.

When he did not hold that position, he was the committee's liaison to the town council.

"I looked at the current administration and it seems to be the mayor's goal to do away with the Main Street redevelopment program. He has been systematically chipping away at it ever since he took office," Wolfe said.

Main Street thrived in the 1950s but by the late 1990s, the buildings were not much to look at and weeds had overrun empty lots.

Wolfe looked at the street and chose to see the potential of historic buildings. He imagined a place where visitors and area residents alike, might walk and shop.

With authority from the town council, Wolfe and the dozen members of the GVRA spent 13 months on a comprehensive revitalization plan for Main Street to preserve its Western character and reinvigorate the business sector.

The council approved the plan in Oct. 1999.

Implementation included the designation of Payson by the state as an Arizona Main Street Community in 2000, that allowed Payson to share in $130,000 in grant money, as well as opening up other avenues to grant money.

"Dick was instrumental in getting Main Street national status. He is smart, original and has a lot of foresight with issues in the town and on Main Street, which made him a good chairman," GVRA vice-chairman, Richardson said.

In the year 2000, the council adopted a resolution that made Main Street a "special plan district," with relaxed regulations to attract businesses.

"All of us on the committee give a lot of time to make the town nice," Richardson said.

Today, restaurants, art galleries, day spas plus antique and curio stores line Main Street and hold monthly First Friday Art and Antiques Walks. Veterinarians, dentists, mechanics are also part of the redevelopment area.

In 2001, GVRA was excited about a concept to reclaim water and create a river walk down Main Street, later known as the American Gulch project.

A council ordered feasibility study in 2005, but put brakes on the project.

The model GVRA built of the American Gulch project gathers dust at the Main Street office at Green Valley Park.

In 2003, GVRA members helped Payson decide where federal money, received from the Community Development Block Grant Program, would be spent.

Since the GVRA's inception, Wolfe said the committee has had a vision of the expansion of the county facilities within its area of jurisdiction.

Wolfe was there at the birth of GVRA.

"I don't want to be there when it dies," Wolfe said.

Committee members will vote a new chairman into office at their Oct. 4 meeting. That person must, as all committee members must, be approved by the Payson Town Council, Richardson said.

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