I believe this photo sums up the overall outlook for the Town of Hayden. This photo taken from the top of a hill above the Town Hall was where a two story apartment once stood. Yes, another fire.
The remaining stairs now go . . . nowhere.
As more of the vacant businesses and residences burn down and the Town Council continues to ignore the town's plight, conditions can only worsen until it becomes a ghost town. The younger generation graduates and quickly migrates to the larger cities for college and jobs. The older, retired generation will die off, leaving, what? Only a few of the people residing appear to actually work at the ASARCO or Ray Mine. The rest that do work are employed by the town or work out of town. A large population, as mentioned before, is on SSI or lives off of criminal activity; stealing equipment and ore from the mine, ripping off their neighbors or selling drugs.
The town probably has more money than any of its neighboring communities. Yet
Winkelman, right next door, without benefit of mine funds, is far more presentable and appealing. You would think that while such funds are available that the town council would have some interest in doing something to revitalize the town. I know such suggestions have been made to the council, but we have yet to hear the council members discuss investing in the town. I can't believe that they don't realize their own plight. As mentioned before there really aren't any businesses there and what realtor would want to invest in such a dismal, threatening looking place. Towns like Superior and Miami have put together projects to clean up their towns, given the older buildings face lifts and actively looked for and supported businesses. Why can not Hayden do the same? Mr. Wilt aside, there is a lot the could do if they were willing. Mr. Wilt, local slum lord, owns most of the vacant buildings; including church and school buildings. Most of them come under the heading of attractive nuisance. Places where kids (without anything else to keep them occupied) want to look into and explore. Places where dog packs den up. And dopers use to push their goods. While attempts have been made to purchase or lease some of the buildings from him he presents all the symptoms of a hoarder. It's as if he is not capable of letting these buildings go or doing anything with them. EXCEPT trying for getting a license to dispense medical marijuana out of them!
So I ask you, Town Council; do you have any intention of doing something about the way you look and act? Are you going to sit on you butts and just wait for everything to fall down around you or are you going to take an active interest in development for your citizens. ASARCO, God forbid, has options that would deprive the town of its single largest tax base. From what I hear the Council has made decisions, especially in the police arena, that had not made ASARCO management happy.
The town culture seems to be one that believes that theft from the mines is a right and should not be punished. Especially not by its own police. Miners have walked off with valuable ore in lunch boxes and their pockets for a century. While a recent theft showed that millions of dollars worth of copper are going amiss, it also showed that locals were directly involved.
On a smaller scale people enter the mine on a regular basis stealing scrap copper and silver, processed ore and equipment. One recovery of about 150 pounds of scrap and ore was valued at over $9000.00. The recovery was made at a local residence and connections to it were made within the town. Scavengers are even noted to follow behind the ore cars picking up ore that fell out. Processing of some of this ore and scraps is being done inside the houses there and might account for some of the fires as acetylene and propane torches are used.
As the police there have caught a few of these criminals and made recovery of mine property, as the audit pointed out that they are understaffed and the town council answers by firing the ones that are doing the work and rehiring the ones that don't. It's enough to make you go, HMMMMMM.