Historic Main Street Group May Get New Life

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Payson should revive its historical district committee before it becomes extinct, the Green Valley Redevelopment Area Committee decided on Thursday.

But the town will have to act fast, since members of the existing committee got so discouraged about the lack of action that they stopped meeting and their terms have nearly all expired.

The attempt to revitalize Main Street has languished for the past several years, with inconclusive committee meetings and many projects that never quite materialized.

The town several years ago created a redevelopment district centered on Main Street, in order to clean up blighted areas and turn the rambling succession of touristy businesses, art galleries, small businesses and vacant lots into the town's premier retail area.

Several, mostly ramshackle, historical structures are scattered along both sides the street between Main Street and Green Valley Park and the town had created a historical district complete with a governing committee in order to attract state and federal grants and try to make sure that historical buildings weren't torn down or too extensively altered.

But delays and confusion muffled those efforts. Not only did the historical committee quit meeting, but the town never started collecting the growth in sales tax money as allowed under the terms of the redevelopment district.

In fact, the town hasn't done a survey to determine whether conditions have improved or deteriorated in the past five years or so, said Ken Volz, who administers the district and heads the committee.

"When the redevelopment district was established it included a sunset clause -- if you can't show improvement in 10 years then you lose the designation," said Volz.

So now the town needs to conduct a new survey and finally put into place a few key measures to keep the designation and make the town eligible for grants.

"Good intentions are not enough, we're going to have to follow through or the level of cynicism will go back up -- you don't need that in this community."

The committee decided to plead with three people on the historical designation committee whose terms are about to expire to reactivate the committee. In addition, they agreed to try to talk four members whose terms have already expired to sign on for another stint.

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