Sure, a cynical person might compare the potential success of Benjamin Gant’s proposed newspaper kiosk and union memorial to opening a store selling cassette tapes or film cameras: Quaint, even nostalgic, and likely flat-lining on arrival.
No matter. Gant’s not inclined to cart around many negative ideas. Heck, there’s barely enough room to change thoughts in the phone booth-sized kiosk he calls Turco’s Last Stand. If his plan is realized, he sees a rebuilt newsstand as a memorial to Seattle’s union and journalism history and to its free-speech ethos.
He sees a place where locals can begin to see inside their city.
“This town has changed a lot, and newspapers aren’t as popular as they were,” he conceded while sitting in the newsstand, a mottled, dented, sheet-metal box made of railroad scrap that squats at Third and Pike. Its interior measures in tens of inches. Its window for survival gets narrower every day.
“This is the last stand of its type,” he said flanked by stacks of the free weeklies and monthlies the stand carries. “And I hope that I can work with the city and make it better than ever.”
If he has time. The story, in brief, is that the city served an eviction notice to the 100 inch-by-42-inch booth. The Seattle Department of Transportation wants it off the busy sidewalk in the heart of downtown, a location it and its wooden predecessor have used for 87 years.
The department asserts that Gant, 28, barely opens the shack anymore. Aging, the blue box is more slump than stand.
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