Sunday, January 08, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Recent Windstorm Blows Ogden Cafe Owner Into a New Life

Sodden query: Will Mayor Caldwell be hog-tied "fighting fires" such as the looming Choo-Choo's Kafe "bailout," as Boss Godfrey's precariously assembled financial "house of cards" finally starts tumbling down?

Disappointing news this morning concerning Choo-Choo’s Kafe, at Ogden's Dining Car/Tourist Welcome Center. As long-term WCF readers will recall, the Tourist Welcome Center project landed the previous mayoral administration in embarrassing political hot water back in 2009, when the Ogden City Council caught the Godfrey Administration red-handed, "[secretly] dipping into an internal services fund account within the city's Fleet and Facilities Department" to the tune of an extra $80 thousand, and spending these funds on Dining Car/Tourist Info Center overages," which jacked up the cost of the project from the originally Council-allocated $34,501 to a whopping $115,000.

Sadly, the cafe's current proprietor, Jeanie Ortiz, is shutting the restaurant down, according to this morning's Wasatch Rambler column:
"Not to worry," columnist Trentelman "hasten[s] to add." "The restaurant will not go away. Pete Buttschardt, owner of Rooster’s and Union Grill, is making extremely positive noises about taking it over," Trentelman reports.

Further down the column, Mr. Trentelman provides this:
Richard Brookins, the city facilities manager, said he’s in active talks with Buttschardt to take over the cafe, “and the city does intend to keep it open in the interim.”
In this connection, WCF reader and frequent contributor Dan S. raises several pertinent questions in the comments section beneath this morning's Trentelman column, relating to this now-floundering Godfrey-legacy city project:
How exactly will the city "keep it open in the interim"? How much will it cost the city, and which department's budget will it come out of?
The "devil's always in the details" of course, isn't it? And frankly, we're more than a mite surprised that the normally perspicacious Mr. Trentelman didn't ask these obvious questions himself.

So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Is the looming Choo-Choo's Kafe "bailout" the first of a long line of financially shaky Godfrey Administration legacy projects which will unduly preoccupy the attention of the City Council and the new Caldwell Mayoral Administration in the days and months to come? Will Mayor Caldwell be in a position to effectively initiate his own agenda, now that he's been sworn in and assumes the reins of city government administration? Or will Mayor Caldwell be hog-tied "fighting fires" such as this, as Boss Godfrey's precariously assembled "house of cards" finally starts tumbling down?

Who'll be the first to throw in their 2¢?


Dan S. said...

Godfrey certainly left Caldwell plenty of "loose ends" and unfinished projects. The River Project comes immediately to mind. But not all of them are in bad shape. There are signs of life at the Earnshaw Building (see this Tuesday's council agenda); there's a new IRS building nearing completion; and there are several other good things going on downtown which may not be that big in themselves but still add up to something significant. Overall, there are plenty of both positive and negative loose ends--just as you'd expect in a city as complicated as Ogden.

Another big example is the 22nd Street Project, which is apparently still top-secret. I wonder if Caldwell is as enthusiastic about it as Godfrey, and I wonder if Godfrey will end up being a consultant for it.

rudizink said...

In a perfect world, Mike C. would be starting out with a brand new clean slate; but alas, that's  NOT how it will happen in Emerald City.

Biker Babe said...

22nd Street Project? 


blackrulon said...

One question that has been pushed into the background because of recent events is the $3000l donation from Gadi Lesham to Mile Caldwell. What are the mayors plan to deal with this problem? Will he return the money? Can he divert the funds towards the costs of leins assessed on Lesham property by the city?

Smaatguy said...

how much did Pete and Kim donate to Caldwell's campaign???  Bet they'll be pushing Union Grill grub out of that car in no time.....and at what cost to the city.....wait, watch, see

Dan S. said...

According to rumor, the plan is to tear down and rebuild both sides of 22nd Street between Washington and Monroe. Players include the city, the LDS Church, the Ogden School District, the Ogden Community Foundation, etc., etc. The council has apparently been briefed about it in closed sessions and I'm pretty sure Schwebke knows about it but for some reason there's been nothing in the paper yet. My source, by the way, is not a council member and assures me that the information did not come from a council member. I can't verify the rumors, but if you read between the lines of what's been said at some council meetings and elsewhere, it all fits together.

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