I saw it on Sugartree Street


Sherry Weller - Contributing columnist



Dr. Seuss’ first published book (December 1937) — “And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street” — is a fantastic read. The story is told by young Marco, whose imagination transforms a horse and cart into a whimsical parade of extraordinary creatures.

The rhythm of every phrase, along with each charming illustration, in typical Seuss-style, makes this one a bedtime must!

I’ve always loved Dr. Seuss books and read plenty to my girls when they were young, but this one in particular has been tossing around in my brain of late.

I think it’s because right outside my office window, I can peek out onto Sugartree Street. Do you hear it? You can easily replace the word Mulberry with Sugartree in Dr. Seuss’ amazing story…. and to think that I saw it on Sugartree Street.

Of course, I’m no Dr. Seuss and certainly don’t have the imagination of young Marco, but I can see plenty of interesting things when I look out my window. What I see is a busy intersection, cars stopping and going, stopping and going.

I see all sorts of interesting people walking in and out of the courthouse, bright red fire trucks at the edge of a garage under the watchful eye of Wilmington’s finest, and gorgeous flowers in full bloom lining the sidewalks. I see a pretty little park nestled on the corner near several businesses owned by some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Most Thursdays I witness a few ladies having their lunch at the pretty little park, praying for some of the more colorful characters who frequent this corner. I’ve also seen runners and walkers on this block who are also praying for the sights on Sugartree Street; I know because they’ve told me themselves. I’ve started doing it too.

What I love about this town is that one street can attract so much diversity and beauty. When the New Life Clinic first purchased the building on Sugartree’s corner in 2015, I could not see past the damaged brick and corroded mortar. Many places inside the building simply could not be salvaged because of the decay.

But despite my apprehension, several visionaries stepped in and saw beauty in the project. Within a year this corner was not only cleaned up, but transformed and ready to serve every unique and colorful individual who came for help.

The only credit I can give is to God himself, who had a plan and relied upon the prayers of the faithful and the sweat and tears of a chosen few to unravel it.

Today, as I write this article, I can also see the Sugartree Street Enhancement Conceptual Design and Development Plan (courtesy of Clinton County Regional Planning Commission) from the corner of my eye at the edge of my desk.

I’ve been privy to just a few meetings with the CCRPC that involved the plans for Sugartree and it has been exciting. Those who have led the effort to enhance and improve this portion of the downtown area, I believe, may have some young Marco in themselves.

The visual conceptions are stunning and reflect a better, more beautiful, more unified downtown Wilmington. Kudos to Taylor Stuckert and others who have led the charge of beautifying this portion of our city.

To see the drawings and imagination of these visionaries right here in Clinton County, take a look for yourself at www.clintoncountyrpc.org/plans—projects .

I can’t wait to see these plans begin to unfold right before our eyes. I know it will be worth all the wait and I’m excited to have a front-row seat.

Like young Marco, I do love being part of a good story. And just as the Sugartree/ South Street corner started in someone’s imagination and came to life with help from above, I can only imagine the rest of Sugartree has plenty of excitement to come.

And to think that I saw it on Sugartree Street!

Sherry Weller is Executive Director of New Life Clinic in Wilmington.

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Sherry Weller

Contributing columnist