Sunday, December 21, 2008

Salt Lake Tribune: Ogden City's River Restoration Project Stalls at the Starting Gate

Another grand Godfrey scheme gets shuffled to the back burner

Discouraging Kristen Moulton story in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, regarding Boss Godfrey's languishing Ogden River Restoration Project:
Ogden » One year after Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, spoke at an Ogden River celebration -- also billed as a restoration kickoff -- there is still no grand plan for the river.
Nonetheless, the celebration did energize community cleanup efforts and a bid for federal funding for restoration of the river, which flows from Ogden Canyon through the city to the confluence with the Weber River west of downtown.
"It's a long process," said Jason Carey, a consultant from Glenwood Springs, Colo., who has been working with developer Gadi Leshem and an ad hoc committee of people interested in restoring the river. "These restoration projects, even the most fast-tracked of them, take at least two years."
Restoring the Ogden River likely will take much longer.
Ms. Moulton goes on to partially enumerate the laundry list of pesky problems which have landed the project on the VERY back burner, not the least of which is the generally dismal state of the economy, wherein funding for projects of this kind is a trifle "tight."

Compounding the problem of course, is the uncertain posture of U.S. Senator Bob Bennett's $6.5 million proposed federal appropriation earmark, which unceremoniously stalled in the Senate last year. In this connection Senator Bennett hints that the future of the appropriation is what we'll characterise as "iffy." We'll suggest however that it may be quite a bit worse than iffy, now that Mr. Bennett sits on the minority side of the Senate, in the absence of his former GOP majority clout.

And developer Gadi Leshem hasn't been much help either, according to Ms. Moulton's morning report. Notwithstanding all the grand hoopla last year, Mr. Leshem has evidently dropped out of sight, and remains missing in action. Specifically, Leshem draws criticism from Great Salt Lakekeeper Jeff Salt, who complains that Leshem has entirely failed to "keep him in the loop about the river's restoration, in spite of such a promise" during last December's Robert Kennedy, Jr. dog and pony show:
Salt said he believes Leshem used Kennedy to give his project a "greenwash."
"He used Bobby Kennedy to launch the project, and he hasn't kept his commitment to communicate with us or involve us," Salt said.
And this is interesting. Ms. Moulton reports that the city is trying to "find a deep-pocketed partner for Leshem who could finance massive demolition work" on the numerous derelict and abandoned residential fire traps he owns in the River Project area.

Hey waittaminute, gentle readers! We thought Gadi WAS SUPPOSED TO BE the deep pocket.

Sadly, like all the other grand plans and schemes of the "visionary" Godfrey administration, this one is panning out to be long on vision, but painfully inept in the execution. So what else is new in MattGodfreyWorld anyway, we ask?

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

22 comments:

Rafiki said...

Just another example how business is not the answer to all societies woes.

If we the people, i.e. the government, had taken on the project the vacant buildings would at least already be demolished.

Then we could continue the parkway with a few pockets of available lots for sale. It would (and does anyway) need constant police presence, but this would be good for the officers of OPD to ride their bikes around.

If you build it they will come; just look at all "central" parks in cities. It is where people want to go.

Curmudgeon said...

Thanks for the pointer, Rudi. Gearing up for the Curmudgeon Family Christmas Dinner Ravioli Making Day today, I'd have missed this, probably.

The article indicates something else: there is always great fan-fare and hoopla by city officials announcing new grand projects for the city, and much credit-taking as well. However, when those projects falter, somehow, it's not considered "news" and is not covered as such, much. [Example: what's happening with the Earnshaw Building at The Junction, which was supposed to be the first of the major condo projects to come on line... well over a year ago? Or did I miss the story?]

The River Project has been more or less moribund for some time now, it seems. [Wasn't it approved and eminent domain proceedings begun five years or so ago now?] So far as I can tell, what we have to show for it so far is (a) a bikelery (b) and in the same building, a cafe (c) a river slightly cleaned up by the annual volunteer effort by various civic and environmental groups to pull trash from the river --- and this is not in any way particularly tied to the River Project programs, (though you cannot tell that from Ms. M's story) (d) vast areas of vacant lot downtown on which nothing has happened for years now (e) deteriorating properties owned by Mr. Lesham that look like Beirut during its civil war... some burned down, some not (f) a promise by a company to build a rehab hospital facility on part of the project land (g) and a news conference extravaganza, with Hizzonah much in evidence, touting a river restoration that seems now little more than the gleam it was a year ago in Mr. Kennedy's eye.

Might be useful if, oh, I don't know, the Standard Examiner maybe? kept a file on all much-ballyhooed announcements about new city projects, and every six months from the announcements on, as a matter of course, asked some tactful but pointed journalistic questions about what had [and had not] happened since and how things were going. And then told its readers what the answers were.

Sort of like the SL Trib did today?

[Credit where credit is due: the SE did blow the whistle on the Lesham City Slums some months ago in its video editorial, and a good job too. It just needs to do more of that kind of thing more often. I suspect if city administrators understood that the local paper was monitoring, regularly, the progress --- or lack thereof --- of city projects like The Junction and the River Project, there might be more active involvement on the city's part in keeping things moving. Or not. But certainly worth a try.]

Curmudgeon said...

Rafiki:

You wrote: If you build it they will come; just look at all "central" parks in cities. It is where people want to go.

Yup. I'm not a city planner, but one of the things I was disappointed that The Junction project did not include, was some public space with something going on there free, or nearly so, that would bring people down to take part and watch. [The skating rink at Galivan Plaze in SLC for example.] People go to watch the skaters, just as I used to do at Rockefeller Plaza in NYC growing up. And more people coming down, more traffic on the properties, inevitably generates more business for the merchants. Some kind of public space like that included in the Junction Project might have been a good idea -- for the city, and for the Junction Merchants. Not to mention a draw for condo-buyers. [Sorry, Boyer Co., but standing out in the cold or heat watching a few people climb an artificial wall through a window doesn't quite do it.]

Everybody wins from well planned public spaces... the city's residents, visitors, merchants and the taxpayers. Everybody.

Rafiki said...

An ice skating park would have been perfect!!! Wouldn't going down to look at the city's christmas lights be all the better with a quick skate on an outside pond. For me it would.

Think of the endless hours of entertainment. Watching all the people attempting to skate :) A Kiosk could sell coffee and Hot chocolate.

That would make city life in Ogden instantly better. Plus no trees or animals would be killed in the process.

If only liberals ruled the world.

Moroni McConkie said...

Thanks to Ms. McKitrick for this helpful article on the missing-in-action Ogden River cleanup. Of course, you (and possibly Ms. K.!) read it here first on Dec. 7. This gives us an idea of who the real players in this saga are, and the frustrations they're having. Is anyone surprised that the one person who has been no help is Gadi, who's "out of the country." As for RFK Jr., who knows if he's even given Ogden a second thought since then.

As private citizens, we can each make a difference in the future of the Ogden River by never littering it and even proactively collecting trash as we walk the parkway. Sadly, using the river as a private dump is nothing new. If you believe our stalwart, venerated pioneers ancestors were friends of the environment, think again. The old annual reports of Ogden River commissioners show that trash thrown in the river constantly interfered with the distribution of irrigation water.

Southsider said...

Cathy McKitrick = Kristen Moulton?

Bill C. said...

Moroni, it's worse than that. Currently our storm sewer empties into the Ogden River ant numerous points from the canyon all the way to the western end of the city.
This practice would have come to an end but for the bad actor/president that so many idiots still worship, Regan changed the rules on the clean water act of 1972.

Bill C. said...

Forgive me Rudi, that should read Ronald Ray-gun. The ultimate fan of Star Wars.

in the know said...

southsider,

Kathy Mckitrick has her own news beat so she hardly = K. Moulton

ozboy said...

Southsider

Looks like you and I are the only ones that didn't drink too much Rum last night!

The article was written by Kristen Moulton and not Cathy McKitrick.

They are both very fine Newpaper reporters, something that is a bit of a rarity here in the land of Oz.

It is unfortunate that the Sub-Standard doesn't have any of equal ability. McKitrick did used to work for the Standard but they were not smart enough to keep her and instead have foisted the decidedly un-curious SS onto us.

patience said...

the truth will out if we wait long enough.

donk said...

Yes indeed, "the truth will out if we wait long enough". In the meantime we may find that we have an abortion for a former exceptional MOGC and who knows what else. Patience is a virtue or so they say, but sometimes it lapses into apathy and that isn't a good thing now or ever.

Curious 1 said...

What happened to the investigation of the bike shop builders dumping into the river with the construction debris? Was it swept under the rub, just like other FOM infractions?

Monotreme said...

Curious:

What FOM infractions?

"Well, when the president [or mayor, or Friend of the Mayor] does it that means that it is not illegal."

By definition, then, any act by a FOM is not illegal. QED.

(Corollary: the rest of you are doing illegal things all the time, we just haven't caught you yet.)

Curious 1 said...

Mono;
Weeds around abandoned homes, no enforcement actions on property around the river project, dumping in the river, zoning that favors certain realtor. Different rules depends on who you have contributed to.

Monotreme said...

No one who is a FOM can do anything illegal, Curious.

Look at Val Southwick! Nothing he did was illegal. He is taking up space in jail that could be used for people who rob little old ladies...oops.

(I was being, and continue to be, sarcastic.)

Moroni McConkie said...

Ozboy: It wasn't rum but gin. In any case my apologies for attributing the excellent Moulton's work to the excellent McKitrick.

Bill C. said...

I was just wondering, if Southwick was lying little matty's financial hero and mentor, what role did the ex-bishop/ child molester from Harrisville, that was recently convicted, play in the formulation of lying little matty's spiritual and moral upbringing?

jason w. said...

Also, one of Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey's ardent allies was his Weber High English teacher: Cavendish! I shudder with repugnance at their canoodling.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Moroni McConkie said...

As long as we're speculating on Harrisville mentors, who were the local Mafiosi? Those flowers sent to Dorothy Littrell were right out of Mario Puzo.

jason w. said...

I believe that freakish alien Jason Godfrey was responsible for the funeral flower delivery to Dorothy. He reminds me a bit of Little Paulie, but far shorter and with a much larger forehead. Similarly dumb: "Ralphie told this joke where he said someone should take a 90-pound mole off Ginny Sack's ass."

Moroni McConkie said...

From the Salt Lake Herald's "Ogden Dept." of July 19, 1890:

"The dumping of garbage and refuse matter into the river is not only unlawful but a very mean trick besides. The water with which Ogden is supplied for domestic purposes comes pure and undefiled from its sources in the mountains, and in that pure state should it reach its consumers. Every case of infraction of this law should be reported to the sanitary inspector."

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