A Wish List of Community Features and Events
story and photography by Pete Grady
With the holidays quickly approaching, the time for list making begins. Did the kids mow the lawn, do their homework or observe your 2:30 AM curfew? Did your spouse treat you to a lovely dinner out, tell you they loved you or remember to leave the seat down? Aw, no matter, give them all gifts anyway! A generous spirit relieves our own conscience and leaves us free to see ourselves as the warm-hearted, wonderful and deserving folks that we are. And when it comes to deserving of something, what could be better than a gift from your home town? So, that brings us to this question; with a few extra bucks now in the city coffers, what sort of amenities could, or should, the City of Eagle bestow on its citizens? Wouldn’t it be cool to be in charge for a day, wave your hand and order up a 200 foot ferris wheel in Merrill Park or a steam locomotive and dining car that cruised a new set of tracks looping from downtown to Beacon Light and back? Well, none of us is going to be The Decider any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an opinion that we’d like to share. With that in mind we asked four families what they thought would make for some good times for all in our fair town. Not meant to be scientific or comprehensive in any way, we simply wanted to set the community discussion in motion. For some great and surprising ideas, follow along as we get the scoop.
Shannon and Lee Dougal are a typical young couple with two kids, Lainey and Miles. She works as a Financial Services Rep at a local credit union while husband Lee attends Boise State full time in quest of a teaching degree. Oh, and he moonlights, literally, as a driver/warehouseman for a large foodservice company. We managed to catch the whole crew in the same spot for a picture one weekend and learned about a passion for drag racing they pursue in their “free time”. Shannon, in fact, is the more accomplished of the husband and wife duo, recently making it to the semi-finals at Firebird’s Annual Halloween Classic. Normally a little reserved, she got revved up when asked what the City of Eagle could do with their extra money. “It would be cool to have a lot of things” muses Shannon. “I mean, it would be great for the kids if they kept expanding the cycle park and actually helped find someone to build a real snow park. But what we definitely need is a cell phone tower. I’m not sure that the city pays for that, but they should do something so we can all make a phone call without standing on one foot outside in the snow next to the garage in the middle of winter.”
On the other end of the scale are retired couple Joy and Skelly Bostedt. Having raised three girls, first in Santa Cruz, California, then Bigfork, Montana, Skelly’s business acumen and flair for development allowed him to retire early and concentrate on family and lifestyle. Following the kids to Boise in search of milder winters, they now enjoy being doted on by their kids and resolving the occasional conflict (said with much tongue in cheek). Skelly feels that a better job of urban planning could be done, particularly with large commercial tracts like that found on both sides of State Street from Palmetto to Edgewood. “It’s confusing finding your way around in there. It’s a good way to design a subdivision, but not a commercial district where people want to find your business.” he says. “Why doesn’t the city spend a few dollars and go down to California or some of our other neighboring states and ask how they’ve solved some of the growth issues? There’s no reason to try and reinvent the wheel and no shame in asking someone who’s had the experience and can tell you what works and what doesn’t” he continues. Joy, on the other hand, prefers to reminisce about a past that included a skating rink. “We would go and spend hours having fun, listening to the music that was piped over the rink and just enjoying ourselves. There were adults there to keep an eye on things but not get in the way, so you knew your kids were safe. And, we got exercise without even realizing it.” she remembers.
“Our town seems a little disjointed”, states Cindy and Dave Thomas, “what we really need is a footbridge over the Hwy 44 bypass so you could get to the stores and restaurants over there. And, get to the river. The way it is now we’re like two different cities.” Cindy is a retired real estate agent and Dave is an artist whose day job is selling industrial equipment and supplies. They love the water and recently scored a great deal on a cabin in McCall. If they aren’t camping in their trailer you’ll find them throwing a stick into the Boise River for their golden retriever or bicycling the Greenbelt. “The other thing I wonder about is the cement factory. The city promised they’d be out of there “in the near future, but that came and went a long time ago” says Cindy. She acknowledges that they were here first, but wonders how long the city can allow entities with such competing interests to be at odds with each other.
In the interest of getting input from a diverse group within the city, we checked in with local business owner Angela Crawford at Eagle Auto Parts. A fixture on State Street for decades, it is really Angela’s dad Greg Crawford who owns the business and the building occupied by next door neighbor Eagle Auto Repair. Nonetheless, heir apparent Angela provides warmth and charm to an oftentimes gruff and grimy business. An Eagle native by birth, she had more than a couple ideas for our wish list. “I’d love to see something as simple as street numbers painted on the curbs” urges Angela. “especially for commercial properties. It’s difficult to see exactly where you are these days with so many regulations on signage and landscaping…the numbers get a little lost on the front of buildings, if they’re there at all.” Building a sense of community through events was another suggestion. “There was once a terrific Christmas event that brought everyone together, but it seems to have faded into just a tree lighting now,” she says. “A summer block party or autumn hay rides would be a blast. Extending the Eagle Fun Days’ water fight or getting the fair going again would be more great ways for Eagle residents to have some fun and get to know each other”.
There you have it, our inconclusive but nevertheless passionately promoted list of ideas to make Eagle a better place with our extra dollars. Like our list? Let us know! Don’t like our list? Let us know! It’s all about ideas and being involved with the place you call home. If that matters, come to a city council meeting, write a letter to the mayor or a city council person. Or simply send your ideas to us and we’ll publish a follow up. As my mom used to tell me, “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you!”