Our View: Ogden blight study a welcome development

Tuesday , September 15, 2015 - 12:00 AM5 comments

Standard-Examiner Editorial Board

We love Ogden; it’s diverse. There are many elements that form our “Junction City.” Most provide a unique tapestry. But there are differences that we’d rather not have. 

We have the richer neighborhoods in Ogden and the poorer neighborhoods. And we have Intergenerational poverty. It’s a challenge that we need to prevail over. Certain parts of our city are economically distressed and stay that way.

City officials recently took some initial steps toward change. As we reported, six members of the city council who comprise the redevelopment agency established the Oak Den Survey Area, which stretches “from 23rd to 26th streets between Madison and Jackson avenues.”

•        RELATED: Ogden launches central-city blight study 

The neighborhood, in central-city, is considered blight, and that works to maintain its negative situation. A blight study will precede an established urban renewal area. From that point, Ogden city will have the ability to get federal grants for housing projects and woo prospective developers with tax incentives. The upcoming blight study will allow a detailed examination of the entire neighborhood, to determine current conditions and what is needed to improve the blight area.

Ogden officials should remember that development efforts need to come with full transparency. Taxpayers have the right to know how their dollars are being spent. This is an opportunity to spend them well.

As Ogden City Council Chairman Richard Hyer notes, developers are wary of entering these long-distressed areas; they need assistance to boost their confidence of success. If Ogden can, through the study and implementation of recommendations, improve the area, we’ll all benefit. 

The blight neighborhood needs work; not much business is there. We have the Rite Aid pharmacy, and a former IGA building that needs a grocer tenant. We need to envision that part of Ogden with strong, attractive businesses where residents feel comfortable walking, and a hub of businesses that sell fresh produce and other food. 

Create neighborhoods where residents can improve their standard of living — that’s the goal. Better homes, better jobs, better schools, better parks, improved city services, and more prosperous communities. This will increase tax revenues and paychecks. It will turn central Ogden into a neighborhood that people want to live in, rather than a location with perhaps cheaper rent.

If we can upgrade the neighborhood, that sets the stage for higher wages. Take the steps necessary. Ogden’s doing that. Let’s keep the momentum.

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