Thank you, Tom Loeffler, for asking questions and for requesting accountability before a deal is done with the SLE on land sales for the proposed college and satellite businesses.
I am not opposed to a campus in Payson, but the citizens of this town should know exactly what they are going to get before anything is started. After all, as originally presented, this campus was going to be built on the approximately 300 acres of Forest Service land on the west side of Highway 260. Now, that is not even being mentioned, but instead being switched to this 55-acre site on the north side; because “we can’t wait.”
I have stated in a previous letter to the editor that this piece of property will not allow for a buffer zone with residential areas where the larger space would have. This is particularly disturbing if commercial enterprise is allowed here.
The only part of this proposed site suitable for commercial would be that facing Tyler Parkway, and overlooking Payson Concrete.
Mr. Loeffler is also right in questioning the appraised price of $25,000 per acre which is awfully low, even in this economy. It is stated that this land is mostly on hillsides, while the $50,000 value attached to the town-owned acre is because it is more level.
Actually, much of the one acre is at present, a drainage pond pond for the rest of the hillside area where the possible use would be commercial buildings.
I still believe that whatever is done, the citizens of Payson should be able to see actual drawn plans before anything is decided. That is what any of us must do before starting a project. What is the rush?
Now, here are my other as yet unanswered questions:
Does any college want this campus enough to sign the papers?
Has anyone really thought about the traffic impact on Highway 260?
Do they know that two more traffic circles are being proposed in that area?
Finally, who ends up being liable if this college is not self-sustaining, and will we be asked to pay through a bond or tax increase? I’d like a guarantee on that if the answer is no.
Editor’s Note: The forest land is still part of the plan and will contain the second and third phases of the proposed college campus. The developers of the project cannot be expected to keep several hundred million dollars tied up on a project any longer than necessary, thus the need to proceed as soon as possible along with the time frame of actually constructing the campus.
The SLE has an option to purchase 67 acres for the campus and is seeking an additional 22 acres, not 55.
It has been repeatedly said that neither the town of Payson or Star Valley has any financial liability for the project. The education alliance is its own legal entity and the only individuals with any liability are the investors who are putting up the money for the project.
The final papers, as our story in Tuesday’s paper indicate, are about ready to be signed, bringing an Arizona State University campus to Payson pending the sale of the final acreage to the educational alliance.
We suspect that there are other colleges or universities waiting in the wings should the ASU deal not be completed.