Neighborhood Misses Cheer Up Charlie's

RECEIVED Fri., Jan. 31, 2014

Dear Editor,
    The legendary Eastside bar, Cheer Up Charlie's, was forced to vacate recently by their landlord [“Cheer Up Charlie's Out, La Corsha In,” Gay Place, Dec. 13, 2013]. I ventured over to the vacant property recently after visiting the food truck neighborhood at Sixth and Waller (also soon to be forced to move). It's pretty weird to see the property without its usual spark of vibrance. As The Austin Chronicle said, Cheer Up Charlie's "set the tone and injected a playfulness and 'Austin-ness' into the East Sixth renaissance." It certainly did. They will be sorely missed in the neighborhood. I'm sure the new location will be even better, as the folks who run it have not lost their way. But it won't be in my neighborhood anymore, and its positive energy will no longer be felt on East Sixth walkabouts. Cheer Ups wasn't given the opportunity to renew their lease because a new, more profitable development wanted in. This is happening all over the neighborhood. With increasing rents and bigger brands trying to buy authenticity, how will our most unique parts of town evolve? Cheer Ups may have been sacrificed so that many of us would be shaken into paying attention. I'm a proponent of growth and generally can see the bright side of things. So, what's the bright side of this story? Austin is at a pivotal time in its history. Our city is one of the hottest cities in the world to be paying attention to. Let's be aware of the changes happening and not grow complacent and arrogant. And certainly, let's not grow cynical. Let's protect what deserves to be protected, and let's be innovative as we experience unprecedented growth, maintaining heart and authenticity as we plant more and more excitement into our little oasis of Texas.
David Walker
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