The Hub: An unwanted cog in the machine of change

The Hub, for those unaware, is the massive new development going up on Milton Road near the recently closed Granny’s Closet.

It’s no secret the traffic in Flagstaff is generally bad. There are too many people living in this little town (especially during the school year) for the deteriorating infrastructure to support, and there’s only so much city planners can do until they start piling people up on top of each other. Case in point: The Hub.

This building, which will accommodate about 550 students, couldn’t be located in a more terrible location. Yes, there’s a lot big enough for it, but it will be cramming everything around it, including the already-congested Milton Road. Now, before anyone gives me a hard time for complaining about traffic, here’s a little backstory.

I’m from Southern California, specifically Orange County. I used to work in Los Angeles. My commute was 50 miles and took about two hours, but at least it moved! In Flagstaff at rush hour, the traffic hardly moves. I see people walking to their destination faster than I can drive. This town was not made for this many people.

NAU’s growth is putting strain on this city, and the only way to fit more students is to build more housing.

One of my favorite parts of Flagstaff is exiting the I-17 freeway and seeing the peaks in front of me. I love being able to walk around downtown Flagstaff and still be able to see the peaks. That view only lasts until the new Marriott downtown (don’t get me started) is finished. Like the Marriot, The Hub (which by the way isn’t even on-campus as they claim) is going to impair the amazing view that many residents love and take pride in having.

When I see the rendering of The Hub and the construction behind the fences, I can’t help but see one more cause of the countless issues I see in Flagstaff’s future ­— overpopulation being one of the biggest.

I remember moving here in the summer 2016 and completely falling in love with this town. The views, the nature we are embraced by in every direction and the silence compared to Southern California. Even when the fall semester started, I was still so enthralled by the new environment that I didn’t really notice the infancy of what I think is the downfall of Flagstaff.

The Hub is a representation of how the powers that be — both on-campus and in the local government — are no longer concerned with what makes Flagstaff and NAU unique. Yes, at their core, education and government need money to function. Most things do. But the community is now entering a phase where those who are aware will see that the desire for growth and expansion will turn this once-quaint little town in the mountains into another cookie-cutter, gentrified mess with none of its true culture remaining.

I know this got a lot deeper than just hating on The Hub, but it’s these thoughts that enter my mind when I see it. And, among other personal reasons, it’s a large part of why, after only one year of school here, I am moving back to California. It’s unfortunate that such a wonderful place is about transform into something it was never supposed to be.

I hate to say it, but I’m glad I won’t be here to see it happen. I’m happy to leave with a little bit of true Flagstaff left in my mind.