Friday, January 08, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Ogden River's Revival Takes the First $2.1M Step

A well-crafted write-up which thoroughly fleshes out the facts concerning yesterday's "River Resoration Project "Stealth"Ground-breaking Ceremony"

Scott Schwebke follows up on yesterday's WCF article with a well-crafted story on the Standard-Examiner front page, which thoroughly fleshes out the facts concerning yesterday's "River Resoration Project "Stealth"Ground-breaking Ceremony":
Digging the River Project / Ogden River's revival takes the first $2.1M step
Although Mr. Schwebke offers no explanation as to the reason that the Standard neglected to report on this story until after the event, it's obvious that our favorite Std-Ex reporter was actively mingling with the crowd, and asking all the right questions:

Unfortunately for Mr. Schwebke (and his Std-Ex readership), at least one notable River Project "dignitary" remained characteristically tight-lipped about a topic which has caused considerable concern among Emerald City Lumpencitizens:
[Gadi] Leshem, who attended Thursday's ceremony, declined to answer questions about his level of future involvement in the Ogden River Project.
"It's a good day for the community," he responded when asked about the project.
To his credit, Mr. Schwebke also took the time to interview Emogene Berrett, one of the property owner "holdouts" (so-called) who still hasn't made a deal to sign over her property rights to the city:
The city still hasn't been able to acquire an easement from Emogene Berrett, owner of Pappas Brick and Stone, 1860 Lincoln Ave.
Berrett said she isn't opposed to the river restoration project, but wants to be paid for her property. "I invested in this property to make money," she said. "The city should give me the same consideration and help to make it work that they would give any other developer."
We'll say we stand foursquare with Ms. Berrett on this, and ask, "Why should any existing property owner who's invested "for profit" be treated differently than any other real estate investor?"

Good Schwebke writeup, as we said. We recommend that everyone check it out.

23 comments:

Just a Thought said...

Maybe the SE's "non announcement was a "Homeland Security" kinda thing. If they'd announced that Senator Bennett was going to be attending the event, he'd likely have been pelted with bushels of tomatoes.

Just a thought.

Curmudgeon said...

I read Mr.Schwebke's report on Sen. Bennett's comments with disbelief and wonder. Surely, I thought, Sen. Bennett would take the opportunity to denounce the stimulus funds from Washington funding this project as damned socialism at work, and urge Ogden to stand up for True Blue Americanism and refuse the cash. But he didn't! [No, really, he didn't! I'm not making that up. Read the story.]

Just another example of Utah Republican hipocracy. Damn federal spending as waste and socialism, and end by asking who has the latest check from DC and how soon can we cash it?

where do they find these guys? said...

What did Curt Geiger do to warrant being provided with a shovel for the groundbreaking for the project? Note his creepy grin in the far right side of the photo accompanying the SE article.

I don't recall the main purpose of the Ogden River Project to be housing, but according to the article is appears to be:
a proposed development that will include condominiums, town homes and single-family dwellings on 30 acres from Lincoln to Grant avenues between 18th and 20th streets. What ever happened to retail shops and restaurants along the river? How will the proposed housing development enhance public access?

Curmudgeon said...

Where Do They Find:

I think you're conflating two different projects. The Ogden River Project for with the River Project RDA was created always envisioned condos and apartments, as well as shops, etc. It was always designed as a mixed use project.

The River Project they were starting yesterday is an environmental rehab for the river downtown: bank work, better floodwater storage, trash clean up, habitat improvement etc. Both are often called "the River Project" which creates some confusion about which is meant. The Environmental River Rehab was always envisioned as supporting and enhancing the RDA River Project's residential and commercial elements --- an attractive riverwalk area making buying/renting in the project more desirable, bringing walking business to the riverside shops like Peloton's, etc.

disgusted said...

where do they find these guys,

I too noticed Mr. Gieger and questioned what he had to do with the project. Maybe the rumors that Godfrey has added him to his BD dept are true.

where do they find these guys? said...

Curm-

I'm not confusing the projects. I just noted that there was no mention of any sort of retail/restaurant type commercial uses in the forthcoming project mentioned. I think the value of the project to Ogden citizens is diminished if the project only includes housing developments as mentioned.

Curmudgeon said...

Where Do They:

Ah, ok. I mis-read your post. Sorry.

And I agree that "the value of the project to Ogden citizens is diminished if the project only includes housing developments as mentioned."

What I'm really curious about now is this: "The city is continuing to negotiate with a company to undertake the Ogden River Project, said Tom Christopulos, the city's business development manager, who declined to identify the firm pending an agreement with the municipality."

More than a month ago, we were told that the contract and announcement of the developer was but a few days away, by the end of the week. Then, some weeks later, we were told the negotiations were nailing down final details. Now, still no announcement of who the chosen developer is, and nailing down final details has become the vaguer "continuing to negotiate."

And Mr. Lesham, it seems from the story, is morphing into Ogden's very own tar-baby, from which Ogden is finding it difficult to become unstuck. And just like Joel Chandler Harris' tar-baby, Ogden's own "he don't say nothin'."

Curiouser and curiouser....

googlegirl said...

Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, and the Tar Baby

Flyguy said...

Keep in mind that the Ogden river in Ogden is only as clean as the source. In the last five years, Pineview has continued to degrade in water quality. In a recent study from a professor at Utah State indicated that it is on it's way to serious increased pollution. The Nitrate and Phosphorus levels are increasing every year and at some point the lake may become an algae farm.

Despite this information, our planning commissions continue to allow new construction with septic tanks in Ogden Valley that eventually share their contents with Pineview. The bacteria may not be lethal yet, but the nitrates and phosphates will eventually create dead zones in Pineview that effect the start of the food chain for many fish.

The Lorax said...

The Ogden river looks the way it should, given the circumstances. It looks like American civilization, and American unbridled waste and progress. Picking up some debris so that it looks better is a joke, until we address the source: fugly people throwing garbage, and teaching their children that environmentalists are wackos, and that you can just flush away a problem, flush it on downstream.

What a bunch of clueless dinosaur-buffoons, standing there with smiles and shovels, right before they get into seperate gas-powered vehicals to go drive miles to go to sterile office spaces, shuffling around bits on paper on the desk, and biding time before the reaper come and wash all of their lies and pretensions away... wash them all away downstream.

Pathetic filthy humans suck, shovel or no.

Targa said...

It is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig, or dressing a scoundral in a new suit, or giving a crack-whore a set of dentures and new good girl panties.

A pristine river running through an urban area is a lie, and it is the kind of lie that is told to idiots by other idiots.

All the garbage is there because we earned it. Erasing the failing grade from the school computer system and replacing it with an A, does not mean you now have an A.

It might look like an A to a casual observer, or a complete idiot, but you know, and anyone who really cares knows, that you failed.

The Ogden River mess was created, like most of the rest of the global stinksewerhole by The Greatest Generation, with the costs passed on to you, their grandchildren stooges.

Go Nuclear Power! Go Big Oil!

Machster said...

Sorry "Flyguy" but you are wrong. There have been at least five major water quality studies done on Pineview over the past fifty years. Not one has ever turned up any evidence of pollution caused by septic systems. Some undocumented speculation...sure.

Read the reports and do not listen to pseudo scientists or "professors" with agendas not based upon facts. Start with EPA Water Quality Studies called TMDLs available in SLC. Call John Whitehead for a copy. Just as there are Global Warming big money grant motivations and bogus data manipulations, there are a few who almost annually want to mislead and misinform but mostly get their hands of some serious Government Grant money.

Hint, the pollution you speak of is common all over the US in irrigation reserviors which are bled down in the last three months of the year to make room for next year's run-off. The resulting shallows enable solar heating which makes for blue algae and turnover and stink late in the season.

The solution is to purchase about half of the 110,000 acre feet of water rights and keep the water level higher - thus eliminating the phosphates and nitrate levels created mostly by the blue algae which forms due to the water temp. increase, with some surface water runoff pollution caused by far far too many animals (horses and some cattle) crapping along streams and watershed lands.

A naturally cold water fishery like Pineview wants to stay a cold water fishery instead of a borderline warm water lake caused by gross over drainage, and greed heads who sell the water in order to give themselves raises and promotions.

Pineview holds 115,000 acre feet of water. But 250,000 acre feet of water pass through it annually, sorta like a toilet bowl constantly being flushed. Two water companies share ownership of 110,000 acre feet of water which they sell for strictly irrigation purposes.

Pineview water is not used for culinary purposes and there are no plans to use it for such unless and until all the underground acquafers dry up and all the Willard Bay catch basin water is also used up. Pineview is a very distant third or fifth option which has never been used for drinking water.

Sorry ole chap, but you are just plain wrong on this point.

Flyguy said...

Machster, you are missing the point. The Nitrates and Phosphates are doing the damage and the bottom of the lake will die in the future and fish will not have their food chain to survive. We are not talking about human danger, but danger to the fish population.

Dan S. said...

I don't think anyone has yet commented on this part of the story:

Ray Jensen said the city bought an acre from him Monday, at 1803 Grant Ave., for a little less than $300,000. Ogden Redevelopment Agency funds set aside for property purchases near the river were used to acquire Jensen's land, said Mark Johnson, the city's management services director.

So we can add $300,000 to the cost of this project (so far). I always find it interesting when the city easily finds this kind of money lying around for its priority projects. (Kinda reminds me of today's article about the Layton principal's slush fund.)

Let's also remember that at one time, Gadi Leshem said he would provide approximately $1 million in matching funds for this project.

Machman said...

I live on Pineview and have for 20 years now. I do not waste my time trying to fish it, as there are no decent fish in it for the reasons we both have stated.

I do not consider Carp, Crappie, Yellow Perch the size of large minnows, small mud catfish, hand sized small mouth bass, and mutant Tiger Muskie as fish worth the time and effort.

I can remember back when Pineview was allowed to be the cold water fishery (feed by artisian springs and mountain snow melt runoff) it naturally wants to be. Trout thrived and the fishing was easy.

But mismanagement of the water levels and subsequent heating of the water temperatures have ruined a once nice place to fish.

Septic systems have had nothing to do with the phosphates and nitrates increases.

Actually the Weber Co. Planning Commission is pushing and almost forcing new developments to built their own sewer systems. It will just make housing cost more and will not effect the water quality or fishery quality at all. Just will make a few people feel good and the greed head jerks who are always trying to get at the considerable EPA taxpayer funded grant money employed.

AWM said...

Machman, I know of at least one bass much, much larger than a hand...I let him go off the north side of Cem. Point...agree with everything else though

Flyguy said...

Machman, you sound like a person with a septic tank afraid that you will have to change. I think stopping any new septic tanks will be at least a start in addressing this problem. The septic tanks are not the only problem, many tons of animal and farm by products work their way into the system and that also adds to the Nitrates and Phosphates in the system. For any of us to sit around and trust the people that benefit from more growth and taxes to make these kinds of decisions, the worse off we are. The state water people are part of the problem if you examine their past history up here.

This is deja vu based on other freshwater lakes all over this country, and by the time the public wakes up, it is too late and you have a sea of algae instead of a vibrant clean body of water.

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little” - Sydney Smith

Machman said...

Flyguy, I have a septic system with a drain field three times the size required by code. I would love to see Huntsville go to a sewage system.

Right now the County requires 20,000 sq. ft. for a septic system and drain field. But with a sewer system that drops lot requirements from the current 3/4 acre to 3 acres (depending upon location and grandfathering) to commercial quarter acre lots.

This would do two things. First, it would allow clustering and subsequently a sea of rooftops covering the Ogden Valley. Second, your sewer system would allow 3/4 acre lots to triple. And the minimum three acre lots to suddenly have rights to subdivide into twelve lots! Make some big bucks!

Now how does that grab ya? Naw Flyguy, you don't really want that and neither do I. Think about it...

The Weber County does need to do something like a serious limit the number of horses though. Right now the situation is grossly out of control as large landowners use the Pleasure Horse amendment to claim Green Zone tax exemptions and thus pay only 8 to 11 pennies per acre while you and I pay thousands per acre in property taxes. The tax burden shift is "horse shit" all the way round....

Spencer D said...

Machman, you keep putting all this on a personal basis, who cares what you have? The fact is we should strive to limit the input of these dangerous compounds into Pineview Reservoir. This body of water and its fish can be saved, but not by negative people who try to ridicule anyone that suggests ways to put an end to this madness.

machman said...

'The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.'
-Winston Churchill

Spencer D. WTF? Flyguy said, "Machman, you sound like a person with a septic tank afraid that you will have to change." To which I simply respectfully replied.

AND I suggested three cost effective solutions which make common sense:
1. Half the irrigation shares need to be bought out, so the water level can remain high enough and cold enough to stop the algae blooms...hence reductions/elimanation of nitrates and phosphates.

2. Weber County needs to limit the number of horses (their manure is much "hotter" than cow manure) and there are far too many grazing along Spring Creek and grazing/crapping on water recharge areas.

3. Finally, gave a factual representation of what the Weber Co. Commission is doing, by requiring new developments/subdivisions to connect too or build their own sewage system.

If anyone thinks that is being "negative" just because they might have some preconceived notions not based upon factual data or proven facts. Well then I guess those folks will just have to continue wanting large expenditures for something that will be a huge detriment to the lifestyles of those who live in and/or enjoy the beauty of the Valley. Not to mention a total waste of public funds, increases in property taxes Countywide, ect.

Sorta smacks of Global Warming or Man Made Climate change in a metaphoric sort of way. If one stops to think about it. And reportedly for the sake of gaining millions/billions in public grant monies. Like expensive solutions in search of a false cause for a problem that really does not exist.

But if you guys are so convinced septic systems are to blame, be my/our guests and insist upon a billion dollar Valleywide sewer system. It will do nothing but destroy the valley in ways you apparently are incapable of comprehending.

Spencer said...

Filthman: another clown who does not relize the circus has already left town. Go back to worshipping greed and waste, crank up Hannity, and enjoy your little piece of illgotten pie. Its all someone elses fault, yeah right! Sooner than later, the bill for you and your ilk will come due.

spencer said...

every real problem has a simple solution, one that requires a hard choice that no one has the guts to make.

disgusted said...

Dan S.

The RDA has no cash to be buying the property. I'm sure the administration arranged a loan to the RDA from one of the departments within the city. Remember too that he has written off 6 million dolars per year of RDA loans to the city in each of the last two budgets. In other words the city paid for the property.

Godfrey is not afraid to spend and further leverage our city for one of his projects where his friends are involved. The City Council needs to dramatically cut back RDA project spending until the RDA can financially carry itself.

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