By Dan Schroeder
This morning’s Standard-Examiner provides us with an important update on the Ogden River Restoration, under the headline, “Half-mile stretch of the Ogden River restored.” That sounds like great news, and I’m sure it is, for the most part. This is a good project that was long overdue.
But the article’s geography is hopelessly muddled. First it says that the restoration has been completed from Kiesel to Wall (which may barely add up to a half mile). Then in the the next two sentences, it says that future phases will go from Grant to Lincoln and Lincoln to Wall—both of which are within the stretch that’s supposedly been completed. The article also says they’ve extracted 10 car bodies near Gibson, but later implies that restoration of the river from Wall Ave. to Gibson hasn’t even been funded yet.
Of special interest is the article’s breakdown of the funding for this project: $1.1 million from federal stimulus funds, $825,000 from our local sewer district, $800,000 from Ogden’s stormwater fees, and so on. The total comes to just about $3 million, which is $900,000 more than we were told in January. If the new numbers are correct, it means that this project is now 43% over budget—and it raises the question of how the city came up with the additional $900,000.
But given the article’s geographical inaccuracies, can we trust the accuracy of its financial data? I have no idea. I’ve sent an email to City Engineer Justin Anderson asking for clarification, and I’ll post a comment here if/when he gets back to me.
Update 9/8/10 9:00 a.m. per Dan S: As promised, here's an update based on my inquiry to City Engineer Justin Anderson.
"Phase 1" refers to the stretch of the river from Kiesel to Wall. Within Phase 1, the stretch from Kiesel to Grant is substantially finished. The stretch from Grant to Lincoln will be finished later this month, except for some plantings that need to wait for spring. The stretch from Lincoln to Wall will be finished by mid-December, again with the exception of plantings that need to wait for spring.
West of Wall is considered "Phase 2", and is only partially funded. They'll do what they can while the money lasts.
The $2.1 million cost reported last January, and the $3 million cost reported today, should be thought of as the available funds, rather than the cost of completing a specific portion of the river. Apparently they've gotten an additional $500,000 from the sewer district and $150,000 from stimulus money, and some other additional funds from the county and other sources. This will allow them to complete more of Phase 2 of the project. As the article notes, some work has already been done in the Phase 2 area. However, the full cost of Phases 1 and 2 would be substantially more than $3 million, so they're not promising to finish Phase 2 by any particular date.