Fourteen years ago, Payne and his wife Diane moved into a modest house on 500 West in a little town called Santaquin.
At the time, Santaquin had an approximate population of 3,000.
The Payne family had an approximate population of four: Richard, Diane, their two-year-old daughter and their newborn son.
Fast forward to 2011 and they’ve upgraded to a slightly larger home in a slightly larger Santaquin.
Santaquin’s population is now over 9,000. The Payne family population is now nine.
Payne loves his family and he loves his town. He loves that Santaquin has stayed committed to “country living and staying rural” despite its recent growth. He feels his community is a safe place to raise a family and hopes to preserve that safety.
“You have to invest in that,” said Payne. “People want to feel safe.”
Safe enough to let your kids run across the street and play a pick-up basketball game on the neighbor’s driveway. Payne is proud of the times when the neighborhood kids have come to use his front yard basketball court; he feels it’s a good representation of how a safe community should be.
He understands growth changes things in a neighborhood, but he believes there are some things that don’t have to change.
“I want to see it stay friendly,” said Payne. “People wave to each other around here, it’s ok to stop in the middle of the street and talk to somebody.”
Payne will have to show an entire town how to weather growth while maintaining small-town friendliness and security. His strategy is to make sure Santaquin is appropriately “positioned for growth.”
Meanwhile, his own family has a lot of growing still to come. Six of Payne’s seven children are still young and living at home, and his oldest daughter just left for college.
He envisions Santaquin being “A destination where everyone would like to be.” Said Payne, “people are still moving here … we just want to make sure the city’s ready.”
Payne thinks all the candidates from the election, regardless of their politics, share a common ground — they all love Santaquin and want it to be the best place to live.
Said Payne, “The same reason I live here is the same reason everybody else wants to live here – because it’s a neat place right?”