I for one, strongly support an ASU campus in Payson. For those that haven’t witnessed the benefits that a university can bring to a community/neighborhood, I’d like share my personal experience.
Growing up and living, primarily, on the “Near North” side of Chicago, many changes took place over my 60-plus years, of what I call zip-code living (60614), in my neighborhood, including the Lincoln Park Urban Renewal Project. This project began in the mid-60s and initiated the branding of this near north side neighborhood with “Old Town” and “Lincoln Park.” A decade or so later, DePaul University purchased the McCormick Theological Seminary at Fullerton Pky. and Lincoln Ave., and our neighborhood, which encompassed an area about the size of Payson, became the Lincoln Park/De Paul area.
The addition of the Lincoln Park/DePaul Campus revitalized this very old neighborhood, consisting of single family homes, two/three flats and apartment buildings, bringing many entrepreneurial businesses, theater groups, music venues, eateries and many brand name shops, who nestled into existing storefronts. Existing neighborhood business benefited, and thrived in this new environment. The campus not only boosted the local economy and provided many job opportunities, but increased property values, and brought vitality and pride of ownership to our entire neighborhood. And, we never lost our neighborhood feeling.
I look forward, with excitement, at the positive impact an ASU campus would have on our community and its struggling economy.