Our quirky coffee house is complete with an on-your-honor communal library stuffed with astrological texts, Marxist tomes, poetry anthologies, and the independent weekly rag, local artists' paintings are displayed on dynamically colored walls, and shade-grown organic blends are sold alongside locally-made vegan burritos. It boasts communal rent and space with our independent music store, obscure vinyl guaranteed, and everyone's favorite boutique of sex accoutrement.
Bikes, eclectic pedestrians, Vespas, and jogging strollers litter the streets on their way to the Friday farmer's market, pausing to say hello to an old friend and linger in sidewalk cafes on warm summer nights.
Our public library is a century-old gothic mansion overrun with ancient oaks and ivy vines. It rests across the street from our locally-owned italian ice cafe, mango and passion fruit come highly recommended, and is within walking distance of a non-profit retail establishment selling fairly-traded handmade goods crafted by artisans in developing countries.
And yet I should have seen this coming. I was an idealistic undergrad at the small, private liberal arts college that anchors the community when the OldNavyBedBathandBeyondBarnesandNobleAnnTaylorPetCo eyesore was constructed. This behemoth looms ominously across the street from the vibrant scene described above. I'm upset, but I'm not surprised. God bless America. I should have assumed it was only a matter of time before every last drop of culture was gone.
As I wax nostalgic and savor the taste of Sugarhouse, my favorite madeleine, I'm sitting at a Local First community meeting discussing the forthcoming big-box development. There's nothing more to be done at this point. The development is set to completely overhaul our gem of a "character district" neighborhood beginning this fall.
I've made my home here for eight years now and will profoundly miss our unique space and energy. However, I feel this is an appropriate wake: the opportunity to cherish the space of this auditorium - a space where concerned citizens chose to invest in the democratic process and united under a common cause. Futile or not, I'm grateful for this journey.
My love affair with Sugarhouse