Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Three Standard-Examiner stories involving Ogden's continuing revitalization

By Curmudgeon

The Standard-Examiner this morning has three stories, all involving, in one way or another, Ogden's downtown [or close] revitalization.

The first is headlined "Ogden To Offer Three Business Grants." From Scott Schwebke's story:

OGDEN -- The city will shell out $20,000 [via a contest] to find the three best business plans for new and unique retail establishments downtown....
The contest that runs through Aug. 25 will help revitalize the city's downtown business district extending from Wall Avenue to Adams Avenue between 20th and 27th streets, said Godfrey. "We want to re-establish retail in the downtown core," he said....
The contest calls for the city's administration to award a $10,000 prize to the entrepreneur who submits the best retail business plan and $5,000 each to second- and third-place finishers. The contest is open to existing businesses that want to expand and new start-up companies.
Sounds like a reasonably good idea to me. There's considerably more detail in Mr. Schwebke's story.

The second Std-Ex item reports that Ogden's High Adventure Recreation Committee wants to build a BMX bike track just west of the Weber River. From the story:

OGDEN -- The city's High Adventure Recreation Committee will seek a conditional-use permit Wednesday from the Ogden Planning Commission to establish a 4-acre BMX bike track at a former landfill site. The track would be located at 2599 "A" Ave....
The track would be operated by a nonprofit BMX organization, said John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer. The High Adventure Recreation Committee and Weber-Ogden Bicycle Advisory Committee are working together to construct the track, which would be sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association, Simpson said....
And who will pay for the track? Well, that's a tad fuzzy, as the funding for Godfrey Administration backed projects often is. Here's what John Patterson told the Std-Ex:
Exact cost estimates to develop the track haven't been finalized, Patterson said. The city may provide some in-kind labor to build the facility, and other costs could be covered by the operator, he said.
This strikes me as another good idea. The more popular recreational opportunities Ogden can offer, particularly those attractive to young people, the better. [And before the caterwauling starts, yes, I know BMX racing isn't what most folk mean by "High Adventure." I don't care. If it's a good idea, and I think it is, I don't think it matters a hill of beans if it's backed by Ogden's "High Adventure Recreation Committee" or Ogden's "Medium Elevation Adventure Recreation Committee" or Ogden's "Just A Little Bit of Adventure Around the Edges Recreation Committee." It's a good idea... provided the funding can be worked out.

And finally, Charles Trentelman's "Wasatch Rambler" column this morning describes Habitat For Humanity's work rehabbing two dilapidated family homes on lower Doxey Street, and on a family that hopes to get to own one of them, a family that has no hope in hell of qualifying for a regular mortgage on a home in a non-trouble neighborhood. Good story. Good on Habitat for Humanity. And good on the Godfrey administration for making the properties available to Habitat for Humanity for a song [comparatively speaking]. These projects too are part of the process of making downtown Ogden... all of Ogden... a better place to live.

12 comments:

Bill C. said...

Curm, the bmx thing makes much more sense that an artificial indoor/outdoor giant frozen monument to the eternal phallic symbol that a whopping .00001 % of the population will pay huge amounts to literally mount.
Bmx racing, although mostly a kids activity, is certainly closer to high adventure than a bogus frozen waste of energy which will never pay off due to the fact that it's not intended to. It's strickly to put Ogden on some map that currently we must not be on.
At least the bmx track will draw participants from all of Northern Utah for races.
As to the other article, fine, more City sponsored prostitution. As we've seen recently from our High Adventure undertaking, this is the only way lying little matty and his crack team can conjure up, to get any business to come.
I have to wonder if it might be wise to explore the reasons folks won't just do it the traditional American way, see a need and fill it. Take a risk and go into business in Ogden. Is it who owns the properties that's a deterent? Is it working within the City's bureaucracy? Is it the ever present danger of youthfull hoodlems unchecked due to a lack of staffing and will on the part of our law enforcement?

RudiZink said...

I can't help but notice how much more modest and sensible Boss Godfrey's plans and schemes have become... now that the credit's dried up and the economy has lurched into recession.

Too bad about the $100 million in public debt Godfrey's already racked up during the "good times," however.

As public revenues continue to contract, we lumpencitizens will remain liable, unfortunately, for that debt.

Curmugeon said...

Rudi:

Yup. And did you notice, the Wall Ave. retail initiative [contest] and the BMX track do not require gondolas to succeed. Not even one gondola.

Imagine that....

Monotreme said...

The BMX track story today was notable, also, in that it finally named one member of the High Adventure Committee.

It's like a Prague Spring around here.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill:

I agree absolutely that a BMX park would have been a better candidate for RAMP funding, or for a city subsidy, than the ice tower, and for the reasons you list.

Don't agree that the contest for start-up help for new businesses on Wall constitutes "prostitution" in any meaningful sense, even satiric, of that term. A lot of people, I think you among them, have complained about the City offering subsidies and assistance to out of town businesses to come in, but little to businesses already here to expand. I'm not sure that's true, but presuming it is, I'd point out that the contest is open to existing Ogden businesses.

The amounts are small, and where new retail businesses, particularly first timers, are concerned, small amounts of seed money so to speak can [not will, but reasonably can] result in good returns for the city. And notice, this contest is not limited, as the other one was, to "high adventure" [politely so called] related businesses. Moderate steps like these to encourage start-ups on declining streets seem to me to be reasonable uses for public funds.

Curmudgeon said...

Mono:

"It's likea Prague Spring around here."

Love it! Currently it's in the lead for "Best Quip Of The Day."

Still chuckling. And on this sad day when the All-Republican Weber County Commission spread its legs for the Utah Real Estate lobby, a chuckle or two is exactly what I need.

matt the magnificant Godfrey said...

I am we todd it!

I am sofa king we todd it!

danny said...

It's funny that they are looking for the "best" retail plan for downtown, now, after they've blown so much public money on downtown. Now, they want a plan.

And who will evaluate the proposals? Godfrey? Will he bounce it off his experience as a slum lord, or off his four years of economics classes at Weber?

I don't suppose they might cut regulation downtown and let people do as they wish. They could call it a "free market." We should try it at least once in Ogden.

dan s. said...

Danny,

Yep, that was exactly my thought when I read the article: What qualifies Godfrey--or anyone else in the city administration--to evaluate a retail plan?

Tec Jonson said...

What will they now do with the vacant parcel at 23rd/wash at the entrance to the Junction that was Mylers folly. Ashton condos are on hold, this parcel is now uncommitted(was it ever committed?), and the condos on the north side of the Salomon seem to be stalled again. Numbers are down at the Salomon and the whole Junction I hear from last summer. Having this much vacant land within the Junction block is now an eyesore with no resolution in the works. Bad time of the economy to hope for much improvement.

As for the economy, I always have to laugh when the media gets to talking about how to get back to good times. Most of the good economic times we have had are later defined as booms or bubbles. Most of the post WW2 era has been boom and bubbles with a few scattered minor recessions. The show is on now. It's likely the real deal, recession is on and depression is setting up. Will people respond wisely and make moves to become more self-sufficient and their lifestyles more sustainable. I doubt it. I do notice the food storage section at Macey's is solidly stocked and people buying buckets, barrels and sacks of rice and beans.

Curmudgeon said...

Tec:

Oh ye of little faith. The Godfrey administration has informed us, via the SE, that it is seeking other developers for the hotel site now that Mr. Mylar has developed... I believe the polite term is "liquidity problems"... with his other ongoing projects,and so has abandoned his Five Start Hotel and Indoor Water Park Ogden pipe dream. I am sure this news is a great relief to Mr. Harmer, who can now, presumably, end his search for the 275 public parking spaces the city misplaced which Mylar claimed was the original reason for putting the project on hiatus.

There are signs that someone on the Mayor's crack development team has been able to sneak a little real world economics into the Mayor's current Ogden vision. I mean, so far, he's not proposed linking the rehabs on Doxey St. with the new retail venues on Wall and the planned BMX park across the river via a flatland gondola to be financed by sale of the rodeo grounds.

Not yet, anyway. Be thankful for small favors.

plain speaking said...

This is the typical Godfrey mind set which is to give away more dollars ...

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