Donn Morris, Minette Hart & Dennis Ryan by the Rim Country Flowers mural

Donn Morris, Minette Hart & Dennis Ryan by the Rim Country Flowers mural they and a group of volunteers created.

The Main Street Merchants Guild is serious about their ongoing work to revitalize the street and preserve the history doing so.

The group gathered for their monthly meeting Tuesday to discuss a wide range of projects and encourage people to take ownership of different projects by forming organizational committees.

Minette Hart, guild president, reviewed the plan adopted at the previous meeting, and stressed the importance of business owner and resident participation.

The plan divides projects into four segments: Organization, Promotion, Design and Business Enhancement. Some of the topics discussed were:

Chamber signage

There will be a new electronic, programmable sign on a stacked stone pedestal outside the chamber to advertise local events. Per Town of Payson ordinance, there will be no business advertising on the sign.

Wendy Larchick, a member of the chamber board, lauded the Payson Town Council and mayor for being “open to developing relationships with the chamber.” She advocated communication between non-profits working on similar projects.

Artistic bike racks

Trevor Fleetham, with Town of Payson Community Development, reported the town applied for a $10,000 grant to install artistic bike racks along Main Street. They will know by Feb. 22 if they have received the grant. If so, they will be looking for businesses to co-sponsor a bike rack. This grant is offered twice a year. The next one is in July.

Payson Adventure Race

The second annual Payson Adventure Race is scheduled for April 27. It is a scavenger-hunt-style team/family run. Teams will race to complete a variety of challenges, “mental, physical and some that are just plain silly and designed to bring a laugh to everyone’s face,” states a handout offered at the meeting.

Money raised in the race will go toward new sports equipment for the middle school.

Last year, they raised $3,000. Contact Payson Premier Dental or Payson Orthodontics for more information. They are sponsoring the event.

Update on proposed micro brewery

Jason Engler, who purchased the old Pieper Saloon, most recently Bootleg Alley, to convert it into a micro brewery also attended the meeting.

“It took us seven months to get the drawings completed,” he said. “Now we’re waiting on an evaluation by a structural engineer. If the building is sound, we will continue. If it needs major remodeling we will not be able to continue with our plan.”

Sawmill whistle

The new compressor for the Sawmill whistle is now in place on the roof of Sawmill Theatres.

Curt Milam, of Milam Crane, Inc. donated his time and equipment. There will be a chamber ribbon cutting in the near future to celebrate the return of the whistle.

The guild meets at 5:15 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main St.

See part two of this story in Tuesday’s Roundup for updates on ongoing projects discussed at the meeting.

Digital Media Mgr/Staff Reporter/Photographer

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(1) comment

Mike White

Someone had the idea to develop another street or walk, for example along the American Gulch, once we provide recirculated water from Green Valley Lake (or straight from the treatment plant itself) up to the beginning of the gulch near the Sawmill location, at which it would flow downstream to the lake, and possibly be re-circulated back up. This would be in lieu of unrealistically trying to reinvent the entire Main Street into a state tourist draw. It has too many dilapidated buildings, empty lots, and buildings that could never be converted to a drawable Western theme. Let's start from scratch and look at ways to build along a waterway walk linked to Main Street with walkways and alleyways. We could use town codes to ensure the shops, restaurants, and saloons all maintain a Western theme like we see in numerous revitalized towns in AZ, CA, NM, and even AK. With the proper tax incentives and streamside Western façade design, investors would likely see opportunities to make money. Visitors could park in Main St parking lots and make a very short, scenic walk to the American Gulch and any existing businesses on Main St such as the venerable Oxbow Saloon. Maybe we could rename the American Gulch to Payson Creek or something more marketable like that. And once everything starts to build up, other businesses on Main St would add Western facades, clean up the empty lots and revitalize the dumpy buildings. And I'll bet citizens would volunteer to help plant trees and prepare the gulch/new stream. Maybe the Sanitary District could get some tax write-offs by participating and helping out, too.

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