For the past few months, the YMCA has been the topic of many conversations I have witnessed and in which I have participated.
Upon moving to Payson in 1982, Rumsey Park was one of the first discoveries of Payson which captured my heart, children playing, softball tournaments, families picnicking, fiddlers contests, rodeos, loggers festivals, etc. After a rainfall, a walk in Rumsey fills your senses with the pure wonder of what the park has to offer. The thought of having plus or minus five acres taken away fills me with sadness. I know the reason Rumsey Park was selected is because of financial difficulties with Taylor Pool and am aware that a citizens committee supported the decision.
The committee’s decision does not reflect my opinion. I sincerely hope our town will be successful in finding grants or other monies which can assist toward the maintenance of the pool as it too, is enjoyed by many children and adults. With all the development happening in and around Payson, it has been comforting to know that Rumsey Park was similar to a preserve where the trees, shrubs and the wildlife would always be protected. The library was enthusiastically welcomed by the town as it complimented the community and the park. It provides valuable services for all citizens of all ages with no additional fees other than our existing taxes. I am grateful that the Town of Payson has listened to its citizens by putting the YMCA issue on the ballot in the coming election. This allows us the opportunity to exercise the right to vote on an issue which directly impacts our town and its citizens.
It has been stated that the land on which Rumsey is located, was not purchased with taxpayer money but was donated to the town. I had not been aware of that, but I do know that the town maintains the property and taxpayers have contributed toward these services for many years.
George Scobas, executive vice president and COO of the Valley of the Sun YMCA can meet Payson’s needs without costing taxpayers a dime. I take issue with two of his comments.
Has there been a needs assessment regarding this issue conducted with the citizens of Payson? I am unaware of any and would certainly have responded if asked. Another issue is in his definition of cost. Cost is not always in dollars and cents. Removing mature, stately ponderosa pines which can never be replaced, is a significant cost to our town. Progress is inevitable, but far too many of our beautiful trees have been destroyed and replaced with buildings and parking lots.
I have never had the opportunity to join a Y as none was ever in the towns of my residence. I have heard wonderful comments about the organization and the programs it offers. However, I do question the manner in which the YMCA challenged the petitions which were circulated and signed by approximately 1,500 concerned Payson citizens. As an organization wishing to open a facility in Payson, rather than taking the petitioners and the Town of Payson to court, I would think they would have chosen to sit down with these taxpayers and potential members and would have addressed any specific questions they might have presented.
The YMCA is welcome to come to Payson. I just feel they should find a different location. The beauty of Rumsey Park is a reflection of what Payson offers to its citizens and to our town’s visitors. It has been the hub of social and physical activity for all citizens of all ages for many years. And, it’s free.
Roberts “Punk” Madaras