Payson Green Valley park concert 2018

Payson has premier parks, such as Green Valley park that hosts the summer concert series. The Parks and Recreation Commission would like to add more open space and parks to the town, but they need a plan. Vice Chair Bj Bollier asked the council for financial support during its Feb. 11 meeting.

The Payson Parks and Recreation Commission came to the Payson Town Council Feb. 11 meeting to ask for help.

Commission Vice Chair BJ Bollier opened with an upbeat presentation on the goals of the council appointed group then asked for the council to consider the parks budget when the next fiscal year budget is discussed.

A recent survey of Payson residents found most put a community center and more parks on the top of their capital improvement priority list for the town.

But Payson has no master plan for parks, confirmed Troy Smith, town manager.

No plan to make sure current parks have the infrastructure necessary to make improvements.

Nor is there a plan to make sure the town provides enough parks and open space for its residents.

“Without a plan, we’re just putting Band-Aids on stuff,” said Bollier.

He used Taylor Pool as an example.

“(It’s) is the elephant in the room. It is older than I am. Do we bulldoze it? Do we leave it or do we save it?” he asked.

He then acknowledged, “when we say master plan, before we move forward, we have to have our parks and systems so we can expand them.”

For years Payson has wrestled with how to improve and add to its parks. Efforts were hampered by the long struggle to come out of the 2008 recession until the council voted for an increase in the sales tax. Then the town had money.

With full coffers, the council has pushed forward with a splash pad build, replaced turf, added bocci ball, improved Pickleball courts and upgraded access to parks. Yet also during that time, the town turned away an offer to partner with the MHA Foundation to build a community center on the east end of town. That area currently has no town park.

Councilor Scott Nossek wished Bollier and the commission well but knows the challenges as he once sat on the park’s commission.

“Our list was exactly the same 20 years ago,” he said.

Councilor Jim Ferris suggested a park’s master plan would provide a vision for the community.

“I think… if we had visuals, we would get the community to say, “Yeah, let’s work towards this here goal,” he said.

The discussion led Smith to reassure the council they would soon go through the process to update the town’s general plan.

“It is all in alignment, from a vision to the things that you do to identify your priorities are reflective in the town’s general plan, which is the visionary template to inform decisions,” he said.

Smith then told the council on Feb. 23, the council will have a special meeting to begin the long process to revamping the general plan, prepping for the budget and other guiding documents for the town.

“You are going to have to make some weighty decisions,” he said.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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