I was dismayed to see that the town council has moved to take over the Visitors Center. This leaves a lot of questions as to what will happen to the Visitors Center and where it will be located. I hope that the town council will consider carefully the consequences of moving the Visitors Center from the corner of 87 and Main Street.
I have lived in Payson for almost 20 years. When we first moved here, there was a big push to improve Main Street and attract businesses. The Main Street grants were being granted and many people were fixing up the buildings on Main Street and opening new businesses. On the First Friday of every month, there would be music and food and the businesses would be open in the evening. But even then, most of the businesses in Payson were not located on Main Street.
Then the 2008 recession hit, and everything faded away. Businesses moved and one owner told me that his business tripled when he moved from Main Street onto access from Highway 87. If Swiss Village were on Main Street, then perhaps visitors might be more inclined to go down Main Street, but it is not. I applaud the merchants on Main Street for working to draw business their way, but for visitors that is not where they choose to go when looking for food and lodging.
Were the Visitors Center to be moved to the Parks and Rec building, you might as well send it to the moon. And the chamber office can be moved to a tree. People will just not go there because it is not convenient or visible. The county would immediately take over the building and make it part of the court system and it could never be recovered as a visitors center and home of the chamber of commerce. The Visitors Center is attractive and the High Country Garden Club makes sure the grounds are groomed and planted with flowers. It makes sense for the businesses of Rim Country to have the Visitors Center stay where it is and fund it fully through the chamber. What the town will do now to run the center is a BIG question. The center is a real asset and should stay where it is. I hope that the town council can come up with a workable solution and I hope they will consider working with the chamber.
Lucy Briggs, Payson