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When I heard people called Ogden a ghetto.

I love living in Ogden. To be more precise, I live in East Central Ogden. My family made a choice to live here; we were so excited when the owner of the house accepted our offer. The house was built in 1889, and at that time it had no sheet rock on the any of the walls; it had not been lived in for many, many years. When there were inhabitants, it had been turned into three separate apartments. Some people thought we were crazy. But once we determined we were going to take the project on, there was no changing our minds. That is how a lot of my neighbors feel about the Jefferson Historic District and their homes located here. These homes take a special kind of care and attention. To begin, many of us had to make them habitable by investing in the basics like walls, and these days we continue to work to maintain their historic beauty while also making them function for our modern families.

We are unique Ogdenites because we not only do all of this expensive and grueling work for our own families, but we also do it because we believe in the future possibility and development of Ogden's inner city. We love the diversity the many different populations we interact with here represent; we love that the library is so close; we love walking to the farmer's market and the concert series. We also love sitting on our porches with our neighbors in the evening and talking about the impending home improvement projects we plan to undertake.

So, when I read that someone has pronounced Ogden to be a ghetto I have to think they have not experienced the same Ogden I have. There may be an overabundance of low-income housing that has been ignored or neglected on our streets, but the many beauties intertwined on each block overshadow those sights for me. I see the emergence of pride revealed in a newly landscaped front yard or a freshly painted porch. I hear a welcome hello or hola as I take a weekend stroll. I can only wonder if those who judge from afar would much rather be surrounded by only people who look the same and probably think the same way they do. For me and my family, we prefer to learn more about other people's experiences and help to create spaces for all of us to thrive. Many of my neighbors are advocates for multi-use and affordable housing options for the people we interact with everyday. We actively work to address the inequities other people might just move far away from. We don't shy away from complex problems. Take a walk down Jefferson Avenue one afternoon and you will see the proof.

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Angela Choberka