Monday, May 10, 2010

A Sunday Tour of Downtown Ogden

Photos and commentary on the status of selected projects

by Dan Schroeder


Yesterday I spent a couple of hours pedaling around downtown Ogden. Although my main objective was to finish the Historic Building Scavenger Hunt, I also took this opportunity to observe and photograph the status of several ongoing downtown projects.

I was pleased to see plenty people and cars at The Junction, mostly around the movie theater and restaurants. As others have said, it seems a shame that the Salomon Center isn’t also open on Sunday.

Glancing upward at the windows of the Liberty Junction apartments, I saw increasing signs of occupancy. At the ground level, though, there’s been hardly any change in the last year. Nearly all of the retail space remains “for lease”. There is a new potato restaurant (closed on Sunday) in the Subway building. Fed-Ex and T-Mobile are still the only two tenants in the retail spaces fronting on Washington Blvd.


Across Washington, the situation hasn’t changed much either. The ground-level retail spaces that were renovated by the city last fall, using federal stimulus funds, are still vacant.


And of course, looming over the intersection of 24th and Washington, the old Wells-Fargo Building still stands completely empty--having lost its last two occupants (the bank and a law firm) to the new Wells Fargo Building across the street.


Heading west on 23rd Street, I passed the now-abandoned Descente warehouse. On the bright side, there was almost no Sunday traffic on this part of the street.


Farther north, along Grant Ave., a prominent sign announces the ongoing Ogden River restoration project, and reminds us of who our mayor and city council members are--or rather were, as of last December. The sign also reminds us that the total Phase 1 cost is $2.1 million, and that the project is being funded entirely by federal, state, and local government entities. (The sign doesn’t mention the private matching funds that were promised but never delivered.)


The river itself is looking pretty nice, for a construction zone. I’m optimistic that this project will achieve its purpose, making this three-block stretch of the river an attractive amenity. The coming RAMP-funded high-adventure playground should add to the attraction.


Surrounding the river, of course, are the dozens of abandoned homes still owned by Gadi Leshem and/or his associates. Leshem City looks about the same as it did this time last year. Once again nobody is cutting the grass, but somehow I doubt that Mr. Leshem has received any threatening letters from Code Enforcement.


On the west side of Wall Ave., the Walmart site seems to be gradually coming along. The weeds are gone and the dirt is looking very smooth, ready for an enormous parking lot.


Across 20th Street from the Walmart site, the site of Ogden’s promised Velodrome is (of course) untouched. Also apparently owned by Mr. Leshem, this piece of land looks nice and green this time of year. Too bad about the accumulation of trash.


Last but not least, I’m pleased to report that I found the last of the 12 Scavenger Hunt buildings. And of additional historical interest, this building was adorned by an authentic Lift Ogden banner--a relic of the historic Ogden Gondola War of 2006. We can only assume that had the gondola been built as proposed, all of the projects mentioned above would now be complete, and all downtown buildings fully occupied. Sigh.

12 comments:

25th street said...

Noticed you getting a beverage at Sadie's Grounds for Coffee. It was a nice day for a get-about.

Dorrene Jeske said...

Dan,

WHAT A GREAT POST!!

For those who don't get out that much, it is great and provides a lot of information about what is happening in Ogden.

THANKS FOR BEING SUCH A GREAT OGDEN SUPPORTER AND CITIZEN!!

Dorrene Jeske said...

Dan,

I should have said "what is and is NOT happening in Ogden."

As for the gondola -- if the Council had given the go-ahead, it would probably look like the River Front project -- we'd have the streets all dug up and a mess to try to navigate. And Godfrey would have told us "Oh, look at the progress we're making! I've got a developer lined up -- can't tell you who, but we have someone!"

Per Ducer Oopert said...

I hope that Dan will let me use some of his excellent shots in my next movie.

Yes dear Ogden people, I am now announcing my next new production from a script written by your very own mayor Mathew Godfrey. It is about his adventures in creating the new Ogden that you are all so proud of. It is entitled "If you build it they won't come".

Brett said...

Good one, PDO! Your production could be sub-titled: "How to Get Your Own Playground at Taxpayers' Expense."

PRODUCER RUPERT said...

Don't use my name in vain.
You know they're coming, and just live with idea that things are changing ... for the bette.
I do want to do a series about Ogden ... A city divided. It will be the new Peyton Place and should get ratings.Sign up now. I will need real Ogdenites as background.

GORGOEGIEGER said...

PROGOOOOOOCER RUPERT YOU CAN ASKS BLAKE, ABE, MATT MIDGET AND KURT TO TAKE TIME OUT OF THERE GEIGERRIG VIDEOS TO DO YOUR STOOPID OGDEN BATHOUSE PRODUCATION FEATURING GOO, GOO GOO AND SUCKING FOR HIGHADVENTURE. DO IT, GOOOOOOOOPERT YOU KNOW YOU WANNA.YOU DID THOSE FUNNYASS GEIGERRIG VIDEOS DIDNT YOU? THAT WAS THE FUNNIESTS SHITS EVER ON THE INTERWEBS!!!!!!!!!!!

GORGOEGIEGER said...

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAAHHHHAAAAAHHAHAHA!!! PRODUCER GOOOOOOOOPERT IS DOCTOR SWEATSALOT IN THE GEIGERSUCK VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND ABE IS TALKING ABOUT GOOBERING UP HIS HANDS AND HE CANT BE CLOSE TO HIGHADVENTURE BATHOUSE!!!!!! GOOOOPERT IN SWEATSALOT AND MIDGET BLAKE IS ALSO THEIR TRYING TO REACH HIS BIKE PETALS!!!!!! BUT HES A MIDGET SO HE CANTT!!!!! GOOOOOOOOOPERT YOU ARE THE DUMBEST JACKASS OF ALLL VIDEOS!

jaydrub said...

Wow. Makes me almost want to vote Godfrey in the next coronation.

disgusted said...

I had a friend come in from out of town who had been here about two years ago. As we drove around he commented on how much worst the city looked in comparison to his last visit. More homes for sale, more closed up store fronts and more empty buildings.

He asked me whether I really believed what the mayor was doing was actually revitalizing the city? I laughed and told him that the mayor was even telling the people that things were getting better and that the mayor was increasing the city budget because he said business was improving and sales reciepts were picking up. Then my friend laughed and said there must be a lot of gullible people in Ogden.

disgusted said...

Jayrub reminderd me to ask the question. Similarity of name I guess.

Last Friday night when I drove past the Gieger boy's Jib Jab indoor skate facilty (the one that the city awarded a $5,000 grant to) it appeared to have closed down. Does anyone know what the status is?

Dan S. said...

Now that the scavenger hunt deadline has passed, I can reveal that the building with the Lift Ogden banner is the dilapidated Denver & Rio Grande Freight Station, located on the north side of 24th Street just east of Wall. And according to the county's web site, the building's current owner is "Leshem, Miri trustee", of Chatsworth, CA.

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