My, my Salt Lake City, what is happening as of late? All this talk of politics and restaurants is making me notice a much bigger picture. Have you noticed the, not couple, nay even few, but many, and by that I mean many, many apartments being built in the downtown area? One look at the multiple cranes that are quickly adding to our new city skyline will bring a new title, New Salt City.
Let me fill you in on my meanings and observations.
In the past month alone I have had an insanely large amount of friends move here. A majority of them moved here because they had heard that Salt Lake City is the new cool place. Who knew? (I did, eight years ago.) A queen who is a heavy hitter from the Portland club scene, an expert chocolatier and nightlife fixture from San Francisco, two urban planners — one from Berkeley and one from Laguna Beach — and two accomplished artists hailing from Minnesota and New York City. Seriously, all in one month! I would get into names but I’ll save that for columns to come.
Extending my further observations, I work at a cosmopolitan salon in the Broadway district, and in the past couple weeks I’ve encountered at least a dozen people ages 20 to 30 who have just moved here for work, and the common factor among them all is how cool and surprising they find our fair city with the bad rep.
This is such exciting news — our hopes and dreams of Salt Lake City becoming an honest-to-goodness metropolitan city is right around the corner, dare I say?
These are some of the things (in the) happening I’ve heard thru the proverbial grapevine: There is a giant Vegas-style nightclub in the planing for downtown, a new theater district being built, and the prison move from the point of the mountain is being billed as Silicon Hills, with rumors of Google and Yahoo coming in and buying up space and the projected growth of Salt Lake is to triple our population within 10 years. Mind blowing!
All of these things not only give me butterflies of excitement in my tum-tum but tightens my sphincter with anxiety because it reminds me of a city I loved over a decade ago that came in strong with growth and ended up ruining itself.
Of course I’m talking about our beloved San Francisco — a city that was once the destination of the young and artsy seeking the Bohemian dream. This dream, I’m afraid, has come and gone. I have been traveling every six to eight weeks for work in SF over the last eight years and that chapter of my life has closed because it’s actually costing me money. An income I once relied on has become not only a setback but I’ve actually found the strife and conversation of the people in this loved city to be sad and depressing.
Plus, they just closed the last lesbian bar, and you can count the gay bars left in the Castro on one hand.
All-to-familiar is this story of growth in our western half. Portland and Seattle have found themselves feeling the pangs of too-fast-too-soon and these jewels of the Northwest are living the nightmare of cities too expensive to live in. I don’t want to get into the griping of the hipsters and the IT kids. Fashion fads are a part of history and, as for Internet techies, it’s just the modern times we live in and so goes the rest of the world.
Here are my predictions for Salt Lake: In the next five years we are going to become a force to be reckoned with. We will have a hopping nightlife and become the leading city in music, art and fashion. We will have a culinary scene on the cutting edge of the country. As we grow, the economy is going to retain its blossoming status and, dare I say, our religious influence will become more of a novelty rather than a presence.
Here is what I sadly predict for our 10-year timeline: All of us who live here will be forced to move to Tooele and Logan because we won’t be able to afford to live in the city, or maybe we will have to move to Boise because it’s the new cool mecca. Let’s hope not.
As we move forward in this exciting time, let’s make sure we keep an eye open and ear to the ground and learn from the mistakes that are making these cities we love a source of fresh new blood to run away from. I feel the community of SLC is strong enough to keep our mountain retreat legit and retain that small town feel in a big city.
Here are the big issues you will see Princess Kennedy shouting from those mountaintops.
1) I am so sick and tired of hearing people bitch about the new bike lanes; get the fuck over it. For those of us who don’t own cars, they are a godsend and, unfortunately for you, not going anywhere. If you were a badass as opposed to a whiny baby, you would go for the bigger evil and that’s what I do everyday — save the air. In 10 years with our projected growth, we’re gonna need gas masks to breath. New bike lanes are the least if your worries.
2) Our homeless population is already out of control. A trip past the shelter on a Friday or Saturday night mimics the hottest nightclub in town. However will we help the masses in 10 years time? My biggest concern is the homeless youth. Let’s get that shelter built and concentrate on their well being, and punishing parents that, as is all too common in this state, throw away a child they feel to be broken.
3) Finally and foremost in my mind (and I need my political friends and counterparts to help me figure out how to go about this), let’s get rent control instated here. The simple reason: a two-bedroom apartment in the new buildings of downtown SLC is going for $1,500 — that is the same as in SF 15 years ago. My apartment I had there at that time now rents for $7,500. Let’s not let that happen here.
I honestly look to the future with and eager heart and open mind, but you can damn well bet I’ll be there to monitor and retain our past. Q