Last week’s Tuesday Roundup contained an article by Ray Pugel suggesting that the growing percentage of gray hairs — retirees — in Payson has a negative effect on the demographics and future economic growth of Payson.
Perhaps Mr. Pugel should analyze the sales records of his own real estate company, Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty, to see over the last number of years who has been buying homes from him in Payson.
I think that he will find that over 50 percent are sold to “gray hairs,” people over 50 years old. Meanwhile, the dominant economic engine in Payson has been and will probably continue to be real estate development. This, in spite of the efforts of town fathers and others to promote tourism and industrial development.
Is this bad for the town of Payson? Besides buying the majority of houses, retirees bring economic stability through their retirement income and daily needs. Perhaps a greater focus should be on attracting businesses and services to satisfy these needs. Their purchase of new homes provide construction employment for the younger work force. If the “gray hairs” were to leave, Payson would become a ghost town, both physically and economically.
Once the economy turns around the future economic growth of Payson, like it or not, is almost automatic via real estate development (construction and resales).
For superior economic growth through retirees, one can only look at Sun City in Maricopa County. In 30 years, it has grown from a population of approximately 30,000 to well over 100,000 today, with all of the accompanying commercial and economic growth. Although this scale of growth may not be desirable for Payson, it should be recognized by Mr. Pugel and others that “gray hairs” do have a positive economic effect on the community.
Citizens Awareness Committee