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Eagle Magazine – Growing Up

By Mayor Jim Reynolds

Recently, I was reflecting on how cities and towns develop personality and experience similar stages of development – infancy, childhood, teenager, young adult, maturity, and finally old age. I began looking at cities and towns with which I am familiar to see how they might fit into this scenario, and where Eagle’s place is.

New cities in the making usually appear around some shared activity. Tamarack, for instance, could well be an emerging city in its infancy built around skiing. A good example of a childhood stage city would be Sun City, Arizona, which was born in 1960 as a retirement community for seniors. Meridian exhibits the qualities of a young adult: confident, sure of its future, and looking for opportunities to grow and prosper.

Boise, on the other hand, is a mature city with all the knowledge and connections to prevail in most situations, but with an eye to the future to ensure a comfortable transition to old age. Many cities of the “rust belt” like Detroit are suffering the ravages of senility and failing health. Parts of these old cities are scheduled to be excised, sold off to try to stabilize precarious health prospects.

Washington, D.C. is an anomaly, an old city that on the surface seems healthy and robust. Life contained within a cocoon, all is well. Yet even that great city’s health is dependent upon the produce and wealth of us in the hinterlands. It seems unaffected by the economic vagaries that so impact us in “fly-over country.” One could even draw a parallel to Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray.

But, I digress. Eagle strikes me as a precocious teenager, full of raging hormones, trying to decide what it will be when we grow up. Always ready to engage in new things, new sports, and new experiences. Looking ahead, Eagle is already thinking about how it will support itself once its youth leave home as young adults. Eagle has certainly excelled at sports in its short time. With the Olympics fast approaching, perhaps Eagle will someday have a place among other Idahoan gold medalists. Time will tell, but Eagle’s talent certainly has the interest and the ambition.

Mom, on the other hand, wants Eagle to stay on the ranch. She doesn’t really want it to grow up and move away from the bucolic surroundings that make it so unique among the neighbors. She fears that growth will change the small town; Eagle will move away from her influence and protection, and she is quite protective.

All things must change, and change isn’t always bad. Growth will almost certainly bring change in Eagle’s outlook and personality. We as residents want Mom and Dad to be proud of us when we reach adulthood. We must educate ourselves to the ways of the world, while never losing our roots and our faith in ourselves and in the Eternal. We must plan carefully for our future in order that we might grow strong in body, mind, and spirit. Fortunately, we have plenty of supportive family members to help us along the way.