Saturday, March 27, 2010

RAMP Funds Dog Park and Adventure Park, Not Velodrome

Two out of eight Ogden City proposals are funded

by Dan Schroeder

On March 10, the Standard-Examiner reported that this year’s Weber County RAMP grant recipients had been chosen and approved. But the article gave few details on the many approved projects, and said nothing about the proposals that were rejected.

For those who are curious, here is the full list of recreation, art, museum, and park proposals funded this year by RAMP using the 1/10 cent sales tax that we approved in 2004. The list includes trails, playground equipment, exhibits, concerts, and a variety of other projects totaling over $1.8 million. RAMP also allocated $239,000 in non-competitive “municipal grants” to the county and its municipalities, according to a formula based on population. Each municipality can use its municipal grant to reimburse costs of any eligible projects.

Ogden City submitted eight proposals for competitive RAMP grants, summarized in the table below.


As you can see, only two of these eight proposals were funded by RAMP, and neither of those was funded in its entirety. In addition, Ogden can use its municipal grant of $82,865 for any RAMP-eligible projects.

Ogden’s two funded proposals are both for park enhancements along the river parkways. First, the city will develop a 2.6-acre off-leash dog park in Miles Goodyear Park, along the Weber River Parkway on the west side of town. Second, the city will create an “adventure park” of unusual children’s playground equipment along the Ogden River Parkway near Lincoln Ave., in the River Project area.

The city’s RAMP applications (linked above) for these two funded projects are strikingly different. The dog park proposal provides a vividly detailed site plan and budget, corroborated by an outside architect. Even so, less than half of this proposal ($60,000 out of $124,048) was funded. The adventure park proposal, on the other hand, provides no site plan and no documentation of the expected costs. It does include a brief budget that itemizes site preparation and fencing, but two thirds of the budget is in a single line item titled “play structures”. These are described in the text of the proposal simply as “cable rope play structures which are connected using rope bridges and zip lines” surrounded by “inverted climbing rocks”. There are no illustrations of this equipment, no price quotes, and not even a named vendor. Given this vagueness, I’m surprised that RAMP has approved $155,000 in funding (nearly 80% of the requested amount) for this project.

The city’s unfunded proposals are equally interesting, as they give us a glimpse of the administration’s current goals and priorities.

The Outdoor Classroom/Sustainable Energy Demonstration Project would be an enhancement to the USU Extension Botanical Gardens at the MTC Park. The proposed budget includes $50,000 for the outdoor classroom and $150,000 for energy demonstration equipment including a solar array, wind turbine, and hydroelectric generator. This appears to be a serious but high-cost proposal.

The Ogden City Snow Park proposal, on the other hand, is not ready for prime time. The intent is to create a winter recreation area on the city’s property along Park Blvd. near Madison, just south of the Ogden River. (I think this is the site that was formerly intended for the “high adventure campground”.) The snow park would offer sledding, tubing, snowboarding, and skiing, with a rope tow system and tube rentals. But the details are far from clear. The city’s application includes no site plan, no documentation of the expected $100,000 in costs, and no operating budget. It doesn’t even say whether snow park users would be charged a fee.

Three smaller proposals were also rejected. One is for portable snowmaking equipment to be used for events such as the recent WinterFest. A second is to put a roof over one of the river parkway bridges, to give it that quaint New England look. And a third is for the annual Paddle Festival at Pineview Reservoir.

Last but certainly not least is the city’s audacious request for $3 million, over six years, for the proposed “field house”. This is essentially the same as last year’s rejected velodrome proposal. New twists include a “field floor” that can be used for indoor soccer, basketball, and other sports; two adjacent outdoor soccer fields; a mezzanine fitness track; and a Boys & Girls Club activity area. The proposed location is now on a wedge of land between 20th and 21st Streets west of Wall Ave., currently owned by Ogden Mall Development Co. of Chatsworth, California (probably associated with Gadi Leshem). Despite the enhancements over last year’s proposal and the additional $900,000 cost of acquiring this land, the project’s total cost has somehow dropped from $15 million to $12 million. And whereas last year’s proposal included a two-page itemized budget, this year’s much shorter budget lumps the entire construction cost into a single $10.5 million line item. There is, however, one important similarity between this year’s proposal and last year’s: neither provides any evidence that the city can raise the millions of dollars of additional needed funds.


So once again, the RAMP application process has been both productive and informative. Undoubtedly, readers will have their own opinions on the quality of the city’s application materials, and on which projects were worthy of funding and why.

The floor is now open for any and all such comments.

17 comments:

Danny said...

Hmmm. Yes, perhaps I will comment.

Another BRILLIANT article from Dan. Note dear readers, that in contrast to the imbeciles, sleepwalkers, and hacks at the local paper, we do have some talent in this community.

And yes, we also have good, honest people in government. I note that the RAMP people seem to have done a reasonable job, in sifting worthy projects from Godfrey's deluded CRAP. Would that the city council could pull the bags off their heads and do the same with as much regularity.

Say, how many indoor sports parks do we have in Ogden, where you can play soccer, dodgeball, etc? Three, four, more??? Yes, what a visionary our idiot mayor is, that he has determined that what we need with taxpayer money is more of what the private sector already provides - indoor sports and Chinese merchandise dollar stores.

Godfrey Administration!

Morons!

Danny said...

Wait, wait!

Where is it???

The "Liquid Nitrogen Laws of Thermodynamics Defying Lifetime (what's left of it) Employment for Jeff Lowe and his Cronies Ice Tower"??

You mean after making a COMPLETE FOOL out of himself on it, Godfrey didn't even put in for it this time?

Why, he had the GENIUSES at Key Bank behind it and EVERYTHING!!!

Is Godfrey givin' up? Has a thin shaft of the light of reality penetrated his office? I don't believe it.

John "Pureheart" Patterson said...

The Fortress of Mayoral Ego

It's a winner, Danny.

We'll put in for it next time.

ozboy said...

Dan

Thanks for the write-up on this. You do a great service to Ogden citizens with your regular efforts to inform.

Do you know just how much land is involved in this west of Wall piece that is being proposed by Godfrey for his Velodrome fantasy? At $900 grand he proposes giving Gadi for the land, it should be at least 3 or more acres, otherwise some suspicious minds hereabouts might think it is just another "benefit FOM" scheme.

Dan S. said...

Oz:

The property is 11.6 acres and is assessed at just over $1 million. Serial number 03-009-0006. Oh, and the taxes from 2008 and 2009 are delinquent, totaling over $34,000.

I've just emailed Rudi a screen capture from the county's web site, showing the parcel boundaries and ownership information.

I've also asked Rudi to post the Field House RAMP application, which somehow got lost among all the documents that I sent him.

ozboy said...

Dan

Thanks for the info.

At 11+ acres the land most likely is worth more than the $900 grand mentioned in the grant application. Of course the real value depends on a number of things associated with said land. Remember the blackjack land purchase by the FOM Peterson a couple of years ago was very close to this piece, was about one acre and Peterson paid $270 grand for it. There was also another offer of $300 grand from a non-FOM.

So the $900 grand figure seems fishy, but then this is a Godfrey deal so that is no surprise.

Dan S. said...

By the way, I'm extremely grateful to Mike Caldwell, who administers the RAMP program for the county, for providing me with copies of all of Ogden City's RAMP applications and answering all my questions.

midwinter said...

Ogden badly needs a dog park.

EPA said...

That piece of used to be a metal salvage business. And I think it was owned by the RailRoad leased to the salvage business. I think there is a possibility it is heavily contaminated

Monotreme said...

I think it was the support from Jim Hutchins (p. 5) that really sealed the deal.

Ogden Resident said...

Relative to the field house, I find it interesting that they want to build something large enough to house 3,000 spectators (not counting the participants and people that will work there) and yet they have only designed the facility with 57 parking spaces. Sounds to me like the next shoe to drop if this ever comes about will be the mayor expecting us residents to pay for a huge parking structure to support his field house.

This thing is going to have a footprint as big the Delta Center and he thinks he can build it for 12 million dollars; “right”. Where does the guy come up with his numbers? I mean think about it, the building is large enough to house 4 side by side basketball courts that are surrounded by an oval bicycle track that is then surrounded by seating for 3,000 spectators. Then on both sides of this large center structure are additional attached building areas large enough to house 6 tennis courts on one side and an archery range and community use space on the other. Twelve million dollars won’t even build out and furnish the main portion of the facility let alone all of the extras.

Then he suggests that he can get someone to operate the tennis courts as a concessioner and have that operator pick up the operating costs of the whole facility; “right”. Why is the mayor bitching about the operating costs of the golf course, this will have a huge operating cost budget that will dwarf the costs by several multiples of what the golf course costs the city. Hell, this thing alone may cost millions a year to operate. Think what it must cost to operate the Delta Center when you think of this.

RAMP was smart to not fund this project as it is like a lot of Godfrey’s undertakings; way underestimated on development costs and way overestimated on its likely financial performance.

Dan S. said...

Mono,

Yeah, when you can drop a name like "Jim Hutchins", you sure get the attention of those RAMP committee members. I think I'll try dropping that name next time I want someone's attention...

OR,

Yeah, I also scratched my head a bit after counting the parking spaces. But of course, the FrontRunner station is just two blocks away!

Ogden Resident said...

Dan S.,

Yeah, Frontrunner station is just two blocks away!

Yeah, I thought Ogden City's job was to try to take care of Ogden City residents not just tax us to death.

BAT_girl said...

Ogden Resident: ".............RAMP was smart to not fund this project as it is like a lot of Godfrey’s undertakings; way underestimated on development costs and way overestimated on its likely financial performance."

I agree with all of what you said above. Whereas I think the OGDEN FIELD HOUSE project may be a great idea for the future, once it is costed out in a more substantial fashion, I am glad that the RAMP FUND rejected the proposal for this FIELD HOUSE Project at this time.

It would make more sense to make THE JUNCTION more profitable, RIGHT NOW, so that it would be less of a tax burden on OGDEN CITY tax payers. About time to make the JUNCTION owner keep the entire facility OPEN on SUNDAY, so that families, tourists and conventioneers, with only 2 weekend days to use it, can do just that.

BAT_girl said...

Midwinter: "Ogden badly needs a dog park."

As regular readers/ commenters on WCF know, I was one of the TROIKA of Three who made SODP (South Ogden City Dog Park) behind SHOPKO on Riverdale Road.........open, 6.9.2008:

For info on this:
FRIENDS OF OGDEN CITY DOG PARK/ FB
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=206195486144&ref=search&sid=1295936406.1014591425..1

This FB group site now has 197 members. If you have a FB page, come join us. I update it regularly.

For more info on:

SODP
http://www.dogparkusa.com/utah/south-ogden-dog-park-club-heights-park

SODP (SOUTH OGDEN DOG PARK) REOPEN APR 16 2010
http://www.flickr.com/photos/glasmann/2850980797/

In JAN 2007, Ogden City applied to RAMP FUNDS for an off leash dog park, that would be in this same location, along the Weber River, east of the MILES GOODYEAR BALLPARK. At that time, Ogden City wrote a proposal for $163,000.00, to modify land OGDEN CITY already owns. At that time the proposal was rejected by RAMP FUND PARKS COMMITTEE. In the months that followed, a joke circulated, coming out of the RAMP FUNDS committees, that RAMP thought TEAM GODFREY was planning on building a concrete block bunker in that area, turning it over to the OGDEN CITY GANGs, some of whose members live in the adjacent neighborhoods. This was TEAM GODFREY's idea of Ogden City Gang control, the joke went. It would allow Ogden City Gangs who were already terrorizing that area and the adjacent 24th ST Kayak Park, to have their own club house, out of which they could sell cervesas and bets to the PIT BULL Fights held in this WEST OGDEN DOG PARK.

It is surprising to me that the RAMP FUND PARKS COMMITTEE would go for a project that they soundly rejected in JAN 2007. Was it just because OGDEN CITY lowered the amount from $163,000.00 to $124,048.00. NOTE: For this WEST OGDEN DOG PARK, RAMP only gave OGDEN CITY: $60,000.00.

Curmudgeon said...

Mrs. Curmudgeon and I ate at a Junction eatery Tues, and noticed that none of the ground level storefront shops beneath the apartments and condos along Kiesel have yet been rented. And driving today along Washington, I noticed all three of the rehabbed Washington Blvd buildings still have "available for lease" signs in their windows. Worth keeping in mind [as I presume the RAMP committee did] when Hizzonah makes a plea for public funding for his over-heated obsession du jour [flatland gondolas, outdoor year round ice towers, velodromes, etc. ]

Bookies setting odds on a horse put a lot of weight on the nag's past performance. There's a reason for that....

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