Sugar House celebrates Independence Day as community revitalizes

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SALT LAKE CITY - There was some extra excitement surrounding the annual Sugar House Arts Fest this year.

The Independence Day event is a prelude to the big fireworks show that has been a tradition since the late 1990s.

"We already had fireworks and it was thought that art was really central to what Sugar House was all about, as well as community, so why not combine that in a day long festival that'd happen in the middle of the business district," said Annalisa Holcombe, Sugar House Merchants Association.

This year, they're celebrating the construction of the so-called 'Sugar Hole' finally being underway after a few years of false starts. That, combined with a new streetcar project coming in the next couple years, has a lot of local business owners enthusiastic.

"They're bringing in a lot of not big chain businesses. Guys like me that are trying to make a start in the community and make a difference, so there's going to be really unique shops in here and that's great," said Jeff Burkley, Joffee's Coffees.

Holcombe says there are $400 million in new construction projects coming in the next five years that will embrace the quirkiness of Sugar House.