• Gregory Z. Smith

Chicken and Egg

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

Photo from the 1930s - Only Two Buildings Seen Here Remain in 2018

As we consider what we believe will benefit our community, we often find ourselves in the eternal conundrum: which came first, the chicken or the egg? In our situation, the question is often this: which comes first, the solution or the resources to pay for the solution?

The resulting equations can be quite complicated and almost certainly include some evolutionary risk. There might be a chicken, but what it lays may not be an egg. There might be an egg, but what comes out of the shell may not be a chicken. Each one, the egg or the chicken, may be sufficiently equipped to produce the other one, but environmental conditions may preclude optimal results.

Thus, as we contemplate a myriad of issues in Las Cruces, we have to do our best to mitigate risk, but we know it cannot be eliminated. We have to factor in any number of moving parts believing that a solid result is possible, but we know that the results are not always easily measured. We have to temper vision with reality, but we know persisting with our vision can mean spectacular results even when reality seems full of rotten eggs.

My support for moving the Museum of Art to the Old Post Office building, for building the 50 meter Community Pool at the Regional Aquatic Center, and for other concepts like Amador Proximo and I-Cubed might be seen as only being about those particular amenities, but for me, they are about much more. They are about who we are and what we can do for our community.

Each of the concepts mentioned above has tangible and immediate benefits, but they are hardly the whole picture. We have made budgetary commitments to do the first two, and I remain confident we will eventually do the same for the second two. However, one might ask how they go beyond helping artists, swimmers, architects, and certain neighborhoods. One might further ask what they are going to do for those who find themselves hungry and homeless or those who find themselves having to leave Las Cruces to find work.

A diversified economy is part of this equation, along with respecting our history, our culture, and our people. People looking for work need to have a range of possibilities available and those possibilities come when people start businesses, people grow businesses, and people relocate businesses seeing a future in a particular location and hearing the language of potential. Amenities like museums of art and libraries, state of the art community pools and playing fields, innovation districts and innovative housing speak that language and share very real messages about who we are and what we can do.

People with jobs have more reasons to care about their communities and more reasons and resources to help those in need. Those in need in a community with vision, like what we are building in Las Cruces, have more reasons to believe they can change their circumstances because there are more opportunities for them. Young people seeking jobs have more desire to stay in a community like Las Cruces when there are more jobs here and more amenities to attract them.

Yes, we could devote the available resources all toward the existing needs, but I believe we would quickly exhaust our resources, long before we finish addressing the needs. The chicken and egg here are in getting the level of resources up to a point where we can better and more completely address the needs while increasing the available resources to continue addressing those needs and doing more for our whole community.

I tend to think the eggs were here long before the chickens were, but what we need to do is ensure we've got both healthy "chickens" and "eggs" resulting from what we do.

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