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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Caldwell as Retirement Community

Back in the mid-1980's, Al McCluskey, the mayor of Caldwell had a vision of Caldwell as a great place for people to retire.  The general reaction to all that thought on the part of Al was not well received.  Here we are 25 years or so down the road and Caldwell still can't quite figure out what we want to be when we grow up or out as a community.  If current Mayor Nancolas has any vision or a plan for Caldwell, it is a very well kept secret.  We continue to drift as a city without a vision or plan for the future.  Things are happening but in the absence of any guiding plan.

THE GUARDIAN read with great interest in the Wall Street Journal the statistics on baby boomers as they enter the retirement years.  Two in every ten will be moving from where they currently reside to somewhere else.  The sheer numbers of this group moving will be around 20 million boomers.

 Here's where it gets interesting, Caldwell really does have a lot to offer the baby boomer demographic.  We have a small town atmosphere with just about everything a retired person might like to enjoy.  Golf courses, a huge lake with some great warm water fishing, close proximity to skiing and the Capitol City of Boise for outings and other activities. Let's not forget the cultural offerings via the College of Idaho. A decent sized airport in Boise that will get you anywhere on the globe is a mere 30 minutes away.

The Boise airport offers nonstop flights to a number of major cities as far away as Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.  Should folks wish to make a trip to where they used to live.  We have I-84 going east and west with Hwy. 95 and 93 going southbound.

The depressed real estate market makes property and home ownership a real bargain for people used to big city home values.  Even in this market people living in just about any high density west coast city could unload their property for a good price and relocate to a city like Caldwell and still have a bundle of cash left over.  Cities have to grow or face stagnation and death. Boomer retirements is a huge opportunity for a city like Caldwell.  The only problem is there is no serious efforts to exploit this market segment. 

Caldwell with all the recreation opportunities, lots of doctors and a major hospital along with a VA medical outpatient clinic are things we have to offer.  Mayor Nancolas wants jobs for our city, well rooftops bring jobs.  Retired people have a steady income and will create demand for goods and services.
Caldwell will no doubt miss this opportunity for clean growth.  No demands for more schools.  The soon to be retired segment of the USA will be looking for places that offer what is already here in Caldwell.  The issue is for city leaders to figure out how to market the area.


  1. I don't think the Nancolas plan is much of a secret. IF WE BUILD IT THEY WILL COME, seems to be the thread of Big Shot and Buds logic and We the Citizens of Caldwell ought to be dam glad they thought of it and get to pay for their great ideas.

  2. C.G. says..
    The challenge for Caldwell is to figure out their place in the scheme of things. It won't be a retail center,that opportunity went to Nampa. It won't be large scale mfg, that went to Ada County and Boise.
    It won't be the center of activity for CWI, that opportunity went to Nampa. The Wine Commission, which was not much to start with has pulled out of Caldwell and gone to Boise.

    Nancolas, and Co. has done a pretty poor job of keeping what we had as far a government offices in downtown with the Job Service and the SW District Health moving out of downtown but scattered to Sky Ranch and down on Karcher Road. Windows of opportunity are quickly closing for Caldwell to be a "center" for anything other than a bedroom community for Ada County employers.

    The above comment about "if we build it they will come", seems to be Mr. Nancolas' master plan for Caldwell.

  3. Former mayor Al in his writings during his mayorship, stated that he was an idea man and had great ones while riding his bycycle exercising machine very early in the morning. Perhaps Nancolas needs such a device for early morning inspirations, but wait (not Eljay), he already has a designated one at the YMCA with his free membership, so hey Big Shot where are the ideas we are all paying for.

    Als best idea though was to take a short vacation before his re election to find out on return that a "Smart Politican" Pete Coles had defeated him on a last minute write in vote. Such true genius only comes around about every 20 years or so. You know, I think were due.

  4. Mayor Al was a business owner and keenly aware of where all the money that came to the city actually came out of someone's pocket. Today, I can only wonder what Mayor Al would have done with all the Urban Renewal cash thrown around town indiscriminately.

    I still like his plan for downtown..tear it down and start over. I try to see what can be done with those old buildings but by the time you retrofit them with current code requirements for fire and electrical along with ADA requirements it would be cheaper to create a pile of rubble and haul it all to the dump...err land fill.

  5. Pete Cowles was a very nice young man but clueless about the job beyond giving everyone a big hug and a smile. The mojo of the city was swirling around the drain during this time in Caldwell. It is now a less economically vibrant downtown today than it was when Nancolas took office.

    We really do need some new blood and thinking in this community. Caldwell has a lot to offer, the problem is marketing of the positive aspects beyond Nancolas' speeches. I think the retirement community has some merit.

  6. The preceding comments seem to be a "Tail" of two cities. In my best recollections the Caldwell City Government in the 80's was largely a "Toothless Tabby" that did a pretty good job of patching potholes, pumping water and sucking sewage with occasional odors waifting across town, and other necessities expected to be provided by city servants, that only occasionally caused inconveniences or embarassments. Now 25 years hence empowered with unbridled user fees, arrogant budgets and urban renewal slush funds, we now have a economic carnivour that only richly retired folks from Kalifornia lured here by our "pristine environment and lifestyle" can satiate. Caldwell was certainly not a perfect place in the 80's anymore than it is now, but all the attributes as to why it would be a great retirement community are attributes of Treasure Valley and not particularly Caldwell which is rapidly becoming a declining part. Caldwell becoming a Retirement Mecca is going to be a tough sell.

  7. Caldwell's new slogan? A good place to die!

  8. I was living in Caldwell during AL's rein. Although AL was a little strange and goofy at times, the taxes were low and there were lots of jobs for working people. During AL's time in office, his idea of allowing running or unleashed dogs to be shot by police officers on sight aside, the city workers were not arrogant or surly and did a pretty good job, excepting the cemetery sexton tho had to leave town for selling burial plots and pocketing the money for himself. When AL was mayor,the police did a fair job of finding the bodies in dumpsters on Sunday morning, and the firemen never lost a basement. Other than the Fire Chief quiting after he got nabbed for shoplifting at Shopko shortly before Christmas, city workers did a good job. Unlike today, the street sweeper that came to Caldwell third hand,(via Chicago, then Pocatello, then Caldwell), didn't cost much and wasn't a burden to taxpayers. AL was easy on the taxpayer's wallet, unlike today. The currant Mayor and other city workers should study old AL and learn!

  9. I was told not to read this blog, but I can't help it. So many of you do not give Mayor Garret Nancolas enogh credit. He wants Caldell to succeed, but it's not easy you know. He has done alot better than McCluskey, Cowles, and Dakan, all combined!

    "A man who wilfully turneth away from his friend without a cause, is not easily forgiven." -J. Smith

  10. Gosh I didn't realize Caldwell's "colorful" history could be such a great marketing tool for a retirement community. The mystical downtown fires that removed buildings that couldn't/wouldn't be removed by more conventional means. The C of C promotional sign that was visible and stored on the SW corner of 10th & Cleveland for several years that had been slightly altered to read "Caldwell, Where the XXXXXXXX lowlife lives". The 2 week closure of Pollards Restaurant for fumigation. The front page local newspaper story about "Caldwell's Cantina Culture" featuring a 1/4 page size firing revolver, after a Hispanic body was found in a dumpster behind a Main St. bar. The TOP theater across from the Saratoga Hotel(where my mother once caught a live mouse in a paper bag under her table at lunch, handing the bag to the waitress with regards) where one could indulge in a night porn after an interesting meal, on the Strip (Main St.). Raft rides under downtown on Indian Creek with baseball bats and a spotlight giving the rats revenge. The surplus airport fire and foam machine the city acquired that was thought to be a perfect riot dampening tool for use in quelling Main Street riots at the local honkytonks, cantinas, and stomp dances. This is only the beginning and could easily stump Pendleton OR in attractive quality. But we must never forget the potential of "Harry Orchard Days" with a very loud firecracker out on Dearborn St. and a couple broken windows on 7th & Main at the appropriate time and day each year.

  11. C. G. says...

    The problem with Caldwell and Mayor Nancolas is the total absence of a "PLAN". And to that end, Nancolas has no clue what a "PLan" is. Wanting the best and executing a plan are two separate things. Today we have two big moving trucks downtown moving 75 jobs out of downtown Caldwell. Mayor Nancolas sees nothing going on here but a simple relocation of SW District Health Dept. to their new offices on Karcher Road.
    I see 75 people with good paying jobs who created demand for goods and services in downtown leaving and creating a void and even more opportunity for others to close up shop. Lunches, runs to the barber, the beauty shop etc during lunch will take these folks to other establishments. They won't be back for this in downtown Caldwell.

  12. Do you think the mayor and any of the current city councilors will retire in Caldwell? I would bet NO. Salt Lake, Portland, and Hawaii are more like it.

  13. I don't think anyone can deny the likability factor of Mayor Nancolas. He's a great front man and, it seems as a casual observer, that Garret's heart is really in the "Feel Good" aspect of the office of Mayor of Caldwell. It's always a Fresh baked cookies great day to live in Caldwell kinda vibe, and that’s fine. It's important to stay positive about the future of this Caldwell. Imagine how we'd all feel if Mayor Nancolas stood at the podium for his State of the City and told us all "WE'RE SCREWED."
    That being said, the faults in Mayor Nancolas’s tenure come from 3 issues, in my opinion.
    1. "The Plan", spearheaded by CEUR, seems so unfocused and desperate for results that it seems at times that endeavors are thought of, implemented, and backed up "from the hip." It's a grasp at straw for instant results to justify the spin, and it isn't working. Why not formulate a model that serves as a sounding board for projects or ideas that can be scrutinized by the big picture objective? It's all willy-nilly, short term feel good projects that give us an instant warm and fuzzy feeling, but in the end don't net any results. I challenge anyone to find a prettier sight in the Treasure Valley than the Christmas lights on Indian Creek in December, but in the end is there a net gain for Caldwell?
    2. There seems to be an unspoken philosophy that no one can save Caldwell but Caldwell's administration and CEUR. Assessing a burdening tax on Caldwell's residents and businesses because they wouldn't know how to stimulate our local economy is misguided, at best. Critics claim that TVCC is a breath of fresh air for Caldwell because, well look around at all the rundown buildings. Ever stop to think that maybe if our property taxes weren't sometimes double the valley average they could spend a little money on their property? The city's response-tax us, take our money and invest in a city owned coffee shop. If I own a coffee shop and am taxed to the eyeballs and then have to compete against my own tax dollars, I’m probably not too happy. To quote Ronald Reagan-"Government is not a solution to our problem, Government IS our problem."
    3. Somewhere over the past 13 years the Mayor has forgotten that a true leader must listen, understand, and respect his adversaries. Rather than listen to those who disagree with the actions of the current administration, those who disagree with the "Great day in Caldwell" mantra are quickly smeared or discredited as trouble makers, "lone wolf" fringe citizens, or citizens who simply are out to get the mayor for some personal reason. Perhaps Mayor Nancolas would have a clearer vision of the reality of Caldwell if he was counseled by a devil's advocate from time to time, as opposed to the current City Council, Finance Director, and dare I even say Chamber of Commerce.
    The Mayor and his administration seem to be leaving no stone unturned looking for the one thing that will save Caldwell and don't even realize that it’s right in front of their noses. The people who choose to live here, run businesses here, and call themselves citizens of Caldwell.

  14. There is nothing in Caldwell worth saving. Let it die. Money will then dry up, and the politicians will move on.

  15. The person who wrote about "the three issues that cause faults in Mayor Nancolas’s tenure" should put that in the paper so the Mayor can read it. Bravo!

  16. I challenge the "likability factor" of Mayor Nancolas. His god like attitude towards himself and his followers are repugnant to me.
    He seems to think HIS taxpayers are paying tithing, to HIS city, HIS followers and HIS holy vision.
    HIS dogma has corrupted Caldwell. Caldwell isn't Zion and Nancolas is no Saint!
    Garret, if you are using a Urin and Thumum for your visions, it needs a good cleaning!

  17. We off the following for those who are not bible scholars regarding Urin and Thumum. Spellings may vary but this is a secular definition:

    "In accordance with the view that Urim and Thummim could be translated as "Light and Truth", the Latin equivalent Lux et Veritas has been used for several university mottoes. Lux et Veritas is the motto of Indiana University and the University of Montana; similarly, Northeastern University's motto is Lux, Veritas, Virtus (Light, Truth, Virtue). Though Urim and Thummim itself is emblazoned across the open book pictured on the Yale University coat of arms, Lux et Veritas appears below on a banner."

  18. Very interesting comments. I have learned a great deal reading them. This really helps. Caldwell does need a vision. I have been here since 1978 and Caldwell has changed a lot. Instead of fields and farms we have homes and Sky parks. We have more business and jobs than ever before. Only 28% of the City's Population leave Caldwell for work. There ARE alot of great things happening. Look at our crime rate. Incredible. I think there is a vision established, however, visions sometimes get off track, and I see this with Caldwell.

    The downtown sector needs to be revitalized. No question. I tried to buy several buildings on Main Street, and why wouldn't I, the prices are lowest of the low. After viewing several buildings to house by growing social media firm, I bumped into Planning and Zoning's Roundtable and I was told I would need to install a brand new sprinkler system with an outlay of $80,000. That was just the beginning. ADA, elevators, special doors and lighting, special restrooms, fire walls etc. I would also be required to find "off street" parking.

    This is when I joined the Planning and Zoning Commission, appointed by Mayor Nancolas. After my 1.5 years of being on the commission, I have determined it is very difficult to do business in the City of Caldwell. This needs to be fixed ASAP if we want to save the downtown core.

    As far as assigning fault, I'm not sure who to blame. The city is required to use the International Building Code. If they don't, and something happens, someone gets sued.

    Caldwell is a great city, however, there are a lot of issues. We need a change of leadership on the Council and we need business to trust the leadership. Make it easier for business to come to Caldwell. That may be a good start in my opinion.

    Last thing. I don't think it's necessary to attack ones religious beliefs to get your message across. That's all I'm going to say on that.

  19. I personally like ny retirement community. People are really friendly and the place is really a nice and relaxing spot to spend the older days of life.


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