Minette Hart

Minette Hart Richardson (above) is heading up an effort to paint murals on Main Street to inject color and excitement, as Gilbert and other cities have done (top).

Discussion on painting a mural to bring more visitors to Main Street continued last week with the Main Street Merchant Guild tossing around ideas until one colorful idea stuck.

Minette Hart, former owner of Down the Street Art Gallery, proposed painting “Welcome to Historic Main Street” in a big, bold font on the side of Rim Country Flowers, 214 W. Main St. Below the large banner would be a scene depicting Main Street as it was, a dirt two-lane road that people ran cattle and horses up, where rodeos were held and where merchants sold wares and bars were bustling.

Hart has tentative approval from the business owner to paint something on the now blank space, the first mural of two proposed on the mile-plus-long street that has struggled to attract customers and keep businesses.

The Guild agreed there needs to be a clear identity for Main Street and they embraced the idea of capturing the history.

Other ideas for the mural included something colorful and abstract or a nature scene, but both of those ideas had minimal support.

Hart said after the Roundup ran an initial article about painting a mural on the flower shop and later this fall on the back of the Sawmill Theatres, she received 26 calls. All but two were positive with one caller, a 12-year-old girl, even offering to lend a hand with the painting. The majority of the callers said they favored a mural that captured the history of the area.

Hart also connected with Mary Pazell, who moved to Payson 1.5 years ago. Pazell worked on several beautification projects in Douglas, including several murals. She offered to help on the project.

Mayor Craig Swartwood encouraged the group to come up with a project that is eye-catching and encourages people to stop and take their picture in front of and then post to social media. This has worked in other communities and is a great way to drum up excitement and exposure surrounding Payson.

Hart said she would draw up a draft of the mural and present it at the next Guild meeting.

Contact the reporter at abechman@payson.com

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