Gila County held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for a new county complex in Payson. 

The Gila County Board of Supervisors and members of county staff and guests gathered at 707 S. Colcord Road in Payson Feb. 16. The get-together was for the ground-breaking ceremony for the $5.5 million county Community Multi-Purpose Complex to be built between the county court facility and the Payson post office.

“The Payson building is going to be wonderful and marvelous,” said Dist. 1 Supervisor Steve Christensen, who represents most of Payson.

After the Roundup ran a rendering of the building in January, there were numerous comments by residents on Facebook that took issue of the looks of the building. Discussing those comments, Christensen said, “There have been concerns, but I have been meeting with the public and with Homero (Vela, assistant county manager, who has been overseeing all the facility improvement projects) and Daren (Frank, facilities manager).”

He said they have discussed the color of the exterior since it hasn’t been decided yet.

Earlier this month, another area resident reached out to the Roundup about the Payson complex.

Ken Volz said, “I was a partner with the architectural firm that designed the Payson post office and was also involved with Gila County’s serious attempt to design and construct a county complex on Main Street in Payson (2007). By the way, the county had approximately $30,000 invested in that initial design and budgeting effort. And, it would appear the county started all over again with the current program rather than perhaps using the previous as a starting point. The 2007 effort … was a well considered solution that would have been a credit to the community and the county.

“I am pretty sure having been in the architectural profession for over 25 years that the current scheme is one of those instances of ‘you get what you pay for ...!’ I suspect the supervisors gave the architectural firm (Architekton, who I am familiar with), a difficult task of doing something with inadequate resources (fees and construction costs). This current scheme is probably the best the architectural firm could generate given too many constraints. Unfortunately, this will be a fixture and face of Payson/Gila County for the next 30 or 40 years!”

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(2) comments

Mike White

Is it too late to start planning for a way to include, or even later retrofit, a reasonable cost Western-themed façade? Even some thin rough wood planking with a natural fire-resistant stain would do wonders. Or even faux wood. With all the attention from town citizens to upgrade the look of the entrance to Main Street, I am baffled by how this industrial exterior design made it through the approval process. I suspect the decision makers were from Globe and not Payson. Were the proposed exterior plans submitted to the Roundup during the planning process? If not, why not?

Mike White

Let us take this easy opportunity to improve the visitor draw and marketability of our town. We have tried several proposed identities, and the combo I think would resonate best with potential visitors would be a theme that incorporates these ideas:

Payson is a long-time home of Rodeos, a Pony Express-stop, a part of the history-rich Apache Territory, and a unique Western town that is a gateway to Zane Grey's Rim Country.

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