A few of our more recent Sugar House Stories:
The Beginnings of Utah Stories in Sugar House
Gathering Opinions of Area Residents on Sugar House Developments
Back in March 2007, Utah Stories set out to find answers to the questions on the minds of all area residents:
Will Sugar House’s unique eclectic charm go by the wayside replaced by homogeneous corporate development? Also, who could begin to think that the best option for the only place in Salt Lake City that still retains its local unique flair on one entire city block should be demolished and rebuilt into what appears to be another Gateway-type development?
In April 2007, many of the area merchants began to accept the realization that the battle was lost. Pib’s owner, Phil Snow didn’t think he would move back to the block after the construction project, however he seemed optimistic about the future of his business and his move across the street from the liquor store, East of 24 Hour fitness.
Sugar House Coffee shop owner Bob Evans felt betrayed not by his landlord, Craig Mecham, but more by the American shopper. He believes that the local shops like his are such a rarity, not because of “evil corporate America or profiteering landlords” but more because American shoppers prefer the Gaps, Old Navy and Starbucks to the local shops. “You can’t blame a landowner for simply providing what the marketplace demands.”
But interviewing patrons and residents we found a different side to the story. Residents felt disenfranchised. Despite their objections, like there was nothing they could do to preserve their cherished block. And that nobody cared about their local community but only the pursuit of chasing the almighty dollar.
These series of videos, while now a few years old, represent the beginnings of Utah Stories and our approach to local, grass-roots journalism. Utah Stories aim from the beginning has been to provide the true “voice of local Utah”. We believe these videos in the first few months of Utah Stories demonstrate why places and buildings matter; and why the heart and soul of any community should be protected.
Opinions From The Sugar House Community
|watch video Sugar House in its former glory (footage from May 2007)||watch video Interview with Sugar House Coffee owner Bob evans||watch video Opinions from clothing merchants Pib’s owner Phil Snow||watch video Hear from Orion’s Music Patrons||watch video Sugar House coffee patron Vincent|
Area teens feel betrayed that the one place they can go and “be themselves” is being sold out from under them. They attribute the success to the block to their patronage and ownership of the shops on the block. They would never shop at Gateway, they are unique individuals and they want to shop at unique places. Teens say the ambiance of Sugar House and its charm represent part of what they believe is by-in-large lost in America, a sense of place.
In my interview with newly elected city planner Soren Simonson, (City Council representative for Sugar House) I found a man who is in the minority opinion. He believes that in the City Council’s decision to rezone the block had been wrong. Working as an City Planner and smart growth consultant for the past 20 years, Simonsen said that Sugar House in its current form has many attributes that other cities and neighborhoods try to acquire and emulate. Mainly the pedestrian traffic, walkability of the neighborhood and shops that residents choose to walk rather than drive to.
Opinions From Area Teens and City Leaders
|watch video Highlights from the City Council meeting.||watch video Hear from area teenager Spencer Skippers||watch video Hear Doug White’s account of the past 20 year history of Sugar House||watch video Interview with Sugar House City Council Rep. Soren Simonson||watch video Interview with Salt Lake County Rep. Jenny Wilson|