Is this a good fit?
Let me state that I am not against this project or growth. I was in favor of both the ammo plant and the university.
My issue is this project is going on town/public land and the mayor and council has not asked the residents of Payson if they want the use of their park changed in such a substantial way.
The mayor’s plan is to offer the people that he represents a choice between three shiny bobbles and not whether we want any shiny bobbles.
There are those that think it would be a good thing to provide additional activities for both the youth and seniors of our town. But how much time would we actually have to use the facilities? The initial Roundup article reported that the townfolks could use it nights and weekends. Since then the actual usage time gets more vague.
As their student population grows from an initial 150-200 to maybe 600, the school will be using the facilities more and more. Mr. Garrett stated that the goal is for 90-95 percent of their students to go on as athletes to NCAA schools.
This requires extensive training i.e., use of facilities and for that matter use of Rumsey Park. This is not just any random 600 people moving into our town.
These facilities are to be built with a supposed revenue neutral goal to the town of Payson. Nonetheless, the developer is either using their money or OPM and they will need to maximize their earnings. Tuition of $50,000/year/student holds a lot more sway than what the locals could possibly compete with, based on the Liberty, Mo. model. It already has sway because of all the giveaways the town is committing to.
The developer has put a 26-acre parcel of land into escrow. Mr. Garrett has stated that all they really need is 15 acres for this project. This leaves 11 acres with which to build the ice rink(s) and activity center. He also stated that these would require 50-80,000 square feet a maximum of two acres. Which leaves nine acres to sell or build a motel or whatever. They could do this without the town’s park land.
I understand the concept of public/private partnership, I wonder though if this is a good fit for the people of Payson and the use of its scarce park lands.