Saturday, September 19, 2020

Hayden growing yet holding onto greatness

| September 13, 2020 1:00 AM

Call it a love affair between an imperfect pair.

The pair in this case is any person who lives in Hayden, and Hayden itself.

Imperfect because every human is. And imperfect because Hayden, with its many quality of life assets, has succumbed to the same civic pandemic that now plagues every community in Kootenai County.

Growth. If not unbridled, growth is at least galloping along much too fast for most riders' comfort.

From Hayden Lake stretching west into the Rathdrum Prairie, Hayden has not been immune to the affliction of urban sprawl. Her streets are far more congested than they were even five years ago. There are indications of decay that rapid growth seems to expose rather than mask, perhaps a reflection of new people moving in with massive bank accounts while the relatively working poor fall further behind.

And yet...

Hayden is clean. Its neighborhoods sparkle. Crime has never established a firm foothold there. And Hayden officials continue to do their utmost to keep what makes Hayden precious while accommodating the new businesses and the tax revenue streams needed to maintain decent roads and other infrastructure and superb services for the citizens.

We believe this love affair, this success story, has former Mayor Ron McIntire's fingerprints all over it. Hayden is like one of his Super 1 Foods stores: Bustling, busy, optimistic, clean. McIntire did what all great leaders do, too. He helped recruit a successor, Steve Griffitts, who is the rare individual who could not just maintain what Ron had built, but in some cases improve upon it.

Hayden's low taxes and high quality of life make it a desirable home for families and retirees from across the country. That's no accident. It's a community with superb leadership across the board with its priorities in all the right places.

So next time you're cussing under your breath because it takes a few extra minutes to get where you want to go, or you see more prairie being consumed by dwellings you might think don't belong there, remember that it is far better than living somewhere that people can't escape fast enough.