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Sacramento County's loss is Citrus Heights' gain

Indoor gathering with people socializing, a bar area, some seated areas, and a musician setup. Lights and decor suggest a casual event.
At Auburn Blvd east of Arcade Creek, the old Dark Heart was a community gathering place.

Dark Heart Brewing was located at 4339 Auburn Blvd. for 5 years. Their building was purchased by an investor who raised the rent (a lot) and thus kicked them out. During Dark Heart's tenure at that location, the brewery developed a reputation as a great hangout space for locals - kind of like Cheers was on TV. Dark Heart offered trivia nights, rotating food trucks and live entertainment. Mostly, though, the product (the beer) was utterly outstanding. Our newsroom elves couldn't get enough of it. You can still find some Dark Heart beers at area taprooms - 19 Handles had some on tap just the other night.

The owners and the regular customers were despondent over the closure. They were stunned that a successful and popular local business could disappear because some new guy bought the place and gave an eviction notice. Sacramento County, of course, did absolutely nothing. The County didn't intervene and totally failed to help the business relocate.

Pirate-themed ad with a man holding a glowing orb, for Darkheart Brewing's new site in Citrus Heights
Citrus Heights is making it happen

Along came Citrus Heights. The City, as we have pointed out on many occasions, has its act together. They even have a deliberate program to attract businesses that fit the city's strategies for quality of life and commercial area vitality. Citrus Heights has been steadily upgrading its various neighborhoods and important intersections; they have not limited their attention to fixing up their iconic Sunrise Mall. One of the City's key sites is Sylvan Corners, the geographical center of the City and a part of the historic Lincoln Highway. Last January the Goodwill Store at Sylvan Corners closed. Earlier this month the City offered Dark Heart a Business Attraction Incentive grant of $86,000 to relocate there. Dark Heart has taken the opportunity, has leased the old Goodwill building, and plans to open fairly soon at 7120 Auburn Blvd. at Sylvan Corners in Citrus Heights.

This is the difference between a laissez-faire county and a smart city.  In general, the people who run cities try to make their cities better, not worse. In general, the people who run counties have too much going on to be able to attend to local priorities. Citrus Heights knows what it wants and makes stuff happen. Sacramento County has not much of a clue and just lets things happen, even when the happenings cause our quality of life to diminish. That's not to say that Sacramento County doesn't mean well. Every now and then a Supervisor like Rich Desmond comes along and tries to go to bat for local unincorporated communities. He can't do it, though. That's because counties have a structural governance problem that gets in the way of making our community better - every dang time. It makes you just want to go have a beer and commiserate with friends. And one of these days fairly soon, we'll be able to do that in Citrus Heights. At Sylvan Corner. At Dark Heart.

Street view with cars, traffic lights, and trees under a clear sky.
In a few months, Sylvan Corners will have a very cool community gathering place. Too bad it won't be part of our community anymore.


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