Since I started my Wisconsin Wonders series earlier this week, I figured it was only fitting to elaborate more on the projects and organizations I’ve been getting passionate about since I’ve moved West. Although I pondered the idea of taking a “break” from my overly involved life in Milwaukee, I quickly found it hard to be apathetic here. The energy of creating and improving community is so strong, it makes you feel like anything is possible, and the fact is, in San Francisco, it often is.
The first project I’ll highlight hasn’t even kicked off fundraising yet. But it’s damn cool. It’s also about 1/2 a mile from my house, so way within range of “something I’d actively use.”
I can’t recall where I first heard about The Harding Theater Revitalization Project, but as soon as I did I signed up to be on all their lists.
I’m a sucker for old theaters, actually just theaters in general. I would 1,000x rather walk to the Castro to see a movie than sit on my couch and watch one. I had two blissful months of living down the block from the Red Vic before it closed (although the buzz is building for its new life). So when I heard the boarded up building next to The Independent could possibly fill the void of an easily accessible spot to go “do something,” on a crappy summer day* I was all over it.
But the Harding Project was so much more, the idea of neighbors not only trying to wrest control of a blighted property, but transform into into something that both stayed true to its original creative intent and fostered entrepreneurship appealed to me immediately. Why would you not want this to happen in your neighborhood?
- Entertainment space
- Retail options
- Small business incubator
- Foodie haven
Yep. I dig.
A couple of months ago I attended the kickoff event where Neighbors Developing Divisadero unveiled their grand plans. Seeing everyone from the neighborhood’s older, African-American residents (who regaled the crowd with tales of the strip’s halcyon days) to middle-aged homeowners to the new transplant unpretentious creatives escaped from the hipster cattlepen of The Mission actively engaged with the project, I was onboard. Especially since I bike by the boarded up building every single morning.
So this weekend I applied to be a Community Builder for the project and help make this happen.
The exciting thing is you can totally get in on the action now. The official fundraising kickoff doesn’t start until July 1 with an awesome party by Alamo Square. So take a look. Don’t you want to say you were there from the start?
p.s. I love the tagline “From blight to Opening Night.”
*I quickly learned that summer is inverted here, especially in The Haight.