Dollar Store Rezoning Meeting Set

Rattlin' the Rim

Among the arts and crafts booths at the Pine Community Center during the Strawberry Festival June 6 and 7 was “Jewelry With a Purpose.” The jewelry supposedly helps wearers let go of negative feelings holistically. This customer, however, seemed to wince a bit during a demonstration.

Among the arts and crafts booths at the Pine Community Center during the Strawberry Festival June 6 and 7 was “Jewelry With a Purpose.” The jewelry supposedly helps wearers let go of negative feelings holistically. This customer, however, seemed to wince a bit during a demonstration. Photo by Max Foster.

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The Gila County Board of Supervisors has agreed to host a public meeting at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 25 at the Pine Community Center to allow residents to voice their opinions on the possibility of Dollar General store being built on the northeast side of Highway 87 directly across from Old County Road.

The property is currently zoned both residential and transitional residential, but Beau Woodring of Scotts­dale-based Southwest General Development wants to rezone the property to commercial so that a Dollar General can be built there.

The possibility of the corporate giant building in Pine has created mixed feelings in Pine and Strawberry.

Some argue building the store would create more jobs and cut down on the number of shopping trips consumers now make to Payson. But others contend the presence of a “match box store” would be a blight on Pine and ruin it as a “peaceful village.”

Strawberry residents Mike and Maureen Pastika have been among the strongest critics of building the store saying, “we strongly object to the development of chain operations in our community and ask that the proposal (to rezone the property) be rejected.”

There are also those wondering how Dollar General can make a go of it in a small town like Pine when a similar store in the much larger community of Payson went out of business just two years after opening.

Some residents also insist they did not get adequate notice of a hearing on the proposal to rezone the property before it was held May 15 at the Gila County Roads building in Star Valley.

Not many knew of the meeting because the required legal notice for it was published May 14 in Globe’s Arizona Silver Belt newspaper.

“When was the last time you saw that paper available in Pine?” the Pastikas asked.

On June 3, the board of supervisors held its public hearing on the rezoning request.

At that meeting, several Pine and Strawberry residents showed up to protest the rezoning, which prompted the supervisors to instruct Community Development Director Bob Gould to schedule a public meeting in Pine to allow community input.

Dollar General appears to have somewhat a checkered reputation with consumers.

On the Consumer Affairs advocacy website that collects and stores thousands of pages of consumer reviews, Dollar General’s overall satisfaction rating is less than two stars meaning less than 20 percent of the store’s customers (reporting on the website) expressed satisfaction.

According to an article in the Real Estate Daily News, Woodring — the managing partner of Southwest General Development —recently sold two Tucson area Dollar General stores both 9,100 square feet. One sold of $1.543 million and the other for $1.79 million.

The real estate news article, written by the editor, says, “Dollar General stores have been attractive investments for some time, with investors waiting for construction to be completed, for these above average investment returns.”

Benefit at The Bear

Don’t forget to attend the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee-hosted benefit from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, June 14 at the “Bear” restaurant located on Ralls Road south of SR 87 in Strawberry.

The event includes dinner, live music, Pine Strawberry Fire Department engines display, a raffle and a silent auction of works from local professional artists.

The dinner will include barbecued ribs and the traditional sides along with a vegan chili.

Donations of $20 per person are requested.

Most importantly, it benefits a great cause — the brush pickup program currently serving both Pine and Strawberry.

Block party at community center

John Lake, the pastor at Church on Randall Place, is inviting all locals to kick back and enjoy themselves at an old-fashioned block party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, June 21 at the Pine Community Center.

The free event will be highlighted by food games, a bounce house and more, Lake promises.

The Prescott-based Christian gospel band Covenant 31 will perform.

Call Lake at (928) 970-4249 for more information about the party.

Summer reading series continues

Squirrely Shirley and Lovely Buttons have come and gone and Didgeridoo Down Under is on deck.

All three performances are part of the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library’s “Fizz, Boom, Read” summer series for children.

Squirrely Shirley delighted a group of about 30 children and some parents on June 4. Lovely Buttons appeared June 11.

Didgeridoo Down Under comes to town 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, June 21 in the library auxiliary room.

It is billed as an Australian-themed show that combines music, culture and science.

The final program in the series, Celebrate the Love of Reading by learning to make slime is on the agenda for 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, June 25.

Following the final program, reading certificates to attendees will be awarded and delicious treats provided, said Becky Waer, library manager.

It was a memorial contribution from the family of former Library Friend Sherry Semrad, who died Feb. 4, that allowed the local library to bring the four exciting programs to the Rim Country.

For more information, call the library at (928) 476-3678.

Potluck today

The Pine Strawberry Senior Citizen Affairs Foundation (SCAF) is hosting at 5 p.m. today, Friday, June 13, a “Potluck and Bingo Get Together” in the community dining room.

Their invitation is to “Bring your favorite summer dish and come have some fun, meet old friends and make new friends.”

Membership in SCAF is open to full- or part-time residents of Pine, Strawberry and surrounding communities who are 50 years of age or older. Membership is $5 per year.

For more information email: SCAF@pinestrawberryscaf.com.

Quilt show

The Strawberry Patchers are gearing up to host the 18th Annual Quilt Show, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., today, Friday, June 13 and tomorrow, Saturday, June14 in the cultural hall. Admission is $2. Those who donate a can or package of non-perishable food to be given to the local food bank will receive a ticket for the quilt drawing to be held today.

On to Chase Field

SCAF members are primed to travel June 19 to Chase Field in Phoenix where they will cheer the Arizona Diamondbacks in a showdown against the Milwaukee Brewers. Game time is 12:40 p.m.

For only $5, SCAF members received a ticket and bus ride to the professional baseball stadium.

The tickets are for reserved seats along the right field line in section 111, rows 14 and 15.

For more information, call Dave Burkhart at (623) 640-0353 or (928) 476-4257.

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