Ymca Appeal

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A state appeals court may rule as soon as Friday on whether Payson residents will vote on a proposed lease of town-owned land to the Valley of the Sun YMCA.

A Gila County Superior Court Judge several weeks ago ruled that mistakes on the paperwork setting up a citizen's committee rendered invalid the 1,500 referendum signatures the group gathered.

On Wednesday, attorneys for the town and the citizen's group tried to convince the state appeals court to overturn that decision -- and put the referendum back on the November ballot.

Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said the appeals court judges asked good questions and seemed to understand the thrust of the town's argument.

"We got an appeals court that was contemplative and understood our position," said Evans.

The legal tangle arose from a vote by the town council to approve key negotiating points leading to the long-term lease of about 5 acres of town owned land and the existing Taylor Pool to the YMCA for the nominal fee of $10,000 annually.

The YMCA would then raise about $5.6 million to build a gym, fitness center, teen center and additional swim facilities, in addition to making Taylor pool a year-round facility. The YMCA would also continue public swim hours in the summer, which would save the town about $140,000.

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