Monday, June 15, 2009

Time to Rethink the City's Ogden River Project Grant Application

The hoped for $4 million proposed grant is not representative of a genuine effort to restore the river at all; its priority and guiding design is to accommodate someone's personal development project

By Bill C.

Since it seems to be another slow news day, allow me to digress.

If it were up to me, I would withdraw the grant application for the river restoration project. I would also charge the mayor with misappropriation of funds for the study done by the firm in Colorado. Why?

This grant is not representative of a genuine effort to restore the river at all; its priority and guiding design is to accommodate someone's personal development project. (We thought it was Gadi Leshem's, but he has since declared it not to be).

You may recall when Bobby Kennedy was hoodwinked and used at the American Can building, that we were told this was Gadi's effort, his development and his restoration firm. The presentation showed the restored river with condos and apartment buildings, as well as retail all crowded along it's banks. The design and presentation even went so far as to give the impression that Gadi owned and controlled the river itself, designated public fishing areas and a water feature that could be used for a small fee.

This grant and the study are in no way the byproduct of any effort towards the public good, but represent the interests of a private entity trying to get public money to fund their effort.

Knowing the properties will be scraped clear of all existing structures, I suggest the City Council commission a real study of a true restoration( all natural), with only the river itself in mind. The purpose to be to actually restore the river to it's pre-channelled natural healthy state. Then prepare a new grant application based on that with an ordinance that will insure no future encroachment from development.

This should in no way impede the progress of any future river development project, it only places the river's well being as the priority.

The way this thing has turned out seems very similar to how the mayor tried to twist transportation around in an effort to put $250,000 of public money into Chris Peterson's hands.

It's wrong and it's not too late to correct it.


Dan S. said...

I dunno, Bill. I'm still in information-gathering mode on this.

So far my impression is that is a legit company and that the restoration of the river would be genuine. True, the primary motive was to further the adjacent development. And I'm as bewildered as anyone about Leshem's role and especially about who has been paying the folks.

OgdenLover said...

How much do you want to bet that WE have been paying

BAT_girl said...

Off subject, but timely. Interesting Jesse Garcia letter to Editor of SE published today:

Council not told city wouldn't fund Marshall White Center

No need to take all focus from MWC to RiverResotration project.

blackrulon said...

It appears that Mayor Godfrey is consistent. He chosen developers cannot develop a mountain resort or make a flatland project work. I'm not certain what type of terrain is due to fail next.

Curmudgeon said...


The cross section of the river that ran as an illustration with the SE article seemed like fairly good design to me for an urban river corridor. And it certainly was not a "build to the bankside" plan. Like Dan, I'd like to see the design proposal when it's done before drawing conclusions about it. Had the design in the article illustration been followed at the intersection of Washington and the Ogden River, the Bingham Cyclery construction and paving would not be perched on the bankside as it is now.

Let's see what the final design proposal when done looks like before criticizing it as unacceptable.

Bill C. said...

Dan, I don't for a minute question the legitimacy of the restoration firm, you and I both know that with plans and studies, the outcome is determined by the input and desires of those that hire the firms.
In this case, they would never have featured an artificial commercial attraction had the consultants not been instructed to include it. A true restoration would not have limited designated fishing areas, it would pretty much be entirely suited for fishing.
Based on what we've seen so far, you can't be certain that gadi, godfrey or montgomery didn't actually outline the prefered course the river should take, to maximize developement potential.
If you check the links you'll find that everything was originally presented as gadi's baby, now we know that the city,(according to the SE) has paid the bill.
This is as underhanded and disengenuous as any other godfrey undertaking, espescially because it involves gadi.
It seems we have what could be a legitimate public undertaking corrupted by greed and dishonesty, and it is totally unnessisary.

Bill C. said...

Curm, what impressed you was one feature that will be used where the existing storm drains now empty directly into the river. Yes, short of correcting the problem of storm drains routed into the river, that is a somewhat workable approach.
Like I said, I don't question the competentcy of the restoration firm, just the bias conveyed to them and the usual deceitful godfrey nature surrounding this whole thing.
Oh, and Curm, In my last discussion with Kim Wallace, the ex-city engineer, he said he had plans to fix the real problem of storm drains dumping into the river, can you imagine an engineer agreeing with my suggestion that all those storm drains should carry the water to the 21st pond which would provide a buffer and filter to a great degree.
I wonder if since the mayor gave that pond away to goode, that plan was shelved and Wallace is no longer employed. Maybe it was the water project, who knows?

Anonymous said...


• We have just added your latest post "Time to Rethink the City's Ogden River Project Grant Application" to our Directory of Grant Programs . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory for getting a huge base of visitors to your website and gaining a valuable backlink to your site.

Warm Regards

Project Grant Team

OgdenLover said...

Huh? Amazing what you find when you actually follow links.
The Directory of Grant Programs contains items such as "Natalie Grant is a singer-songwriter of contemporary Christian music." I think this was an instance of blind searching, perhaps by a bot.

ConcernedBotanist said...

I have been in contact with a few people working directly on the project. The reason why the project was initially thought of was because the Ogden River is one of the most polluted rivers in Utah. The sediment and pollution levels were such that something needed to be done with it. As far as returning the river to a pristine and human free environment. Only when you understand the true nature of an urban river can you realize that you can never separate the people from the river, no matter what. So, that is an issue which must be dealt with. I believe that the plans are valid and those who are making the day to day on site decisions are trying to do what is best for the river while trying to minimize the potential negative human impact. I do not negate the possible underlying motives of the businesses and politicans in the area but they are not the ones who are making the day to day on site decisions.

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