It's Not About The ‘Y,' It's About The Park Land

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When Vickie Lucas moved to Payson two years ago from southeast Kansas, she never thought she would be organizing a petition to stop the construction of a YMCA gym and pool complex in Rumsey Park.

"Judy Shafferkoetter and I knew somebody would have to do something to stop it and we decided it would have to be us," Lucas said.

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Vicki Lucas

Lucas and Shafferkoetter object to the construction of a 6,500-square-foot gym and pool complex on five acres of park land.

"We are not objecting to the YMCA being in Payson, it's purely the acreage in Rumsey Park," Lucas said. "Citizens should decide the usage of park lands."

Lucas along with 44 volunteers, gathered signatures for three weeks from citizens who also felt the YMCA should not be built. More than 1,500 signatures were collected, far more than the needed 540 signatures to force a special election on the November ballot. Lucas said people were still calling her yesterday looking to sign the petition.

"It surprised me and gratified me that others felt the same way," she said. "I had no idea when we started we would get that many. We needed over 500 signatures and we were hoping we could get them."

She said hopefully the issue makes it onto the ballet and voters approve it.

If the petitions become invalid because they do not refer to the negotiating points on the final agreement, she would issue new petitions and collect signatures again.

"I would feel guilty if I did not do it again, like I was letting people down," she said.

Lucas said she was not involved in politics before now, but was always active in the community.

She was the president of the library board in Kansas and a volunteer for the American Heart Association.

Lucas and her husband, Ted, moved to Payson after traveling through the town four years ago.

"We knew we wanted the Arizona mountains for retirement," she said.

"We had been to several towns looking. We came to Payson and it felt like home. We were here for three days and we bought a house."

After buying the house, they did not come back to Payson until they retired three years later. "We forgot what the house looked like."

Lucas owned a stained glass and framing shop in Kansas and taught stained glass at the community college.

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