Extending the vibe on Historic 25th Street

Friday , October 06, 2017 - 4:30 AM4 comments

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following editorial has been changed to correctly identify Washington Boulevard. The Standard-Examiner regrets the error.

Ogden remade Historic 25th Street into one of the most dynamic, attractive Main Streets in America. But the transformation abruptly ended at Washington Boulevard.

That’s about to change.

The Ogden City Council voted Tuesday the purchase the Courtyard Inn, 445 25th St., and demolish it. When the motel is gone, the city plans to convert the space into a public plaza.

  • RELATED: “Ogden Council approves project to tear down, replace downtown Courtyard Inn”

That will be a good day for downtown Ogden. For a number of reasons.

Over the years, the Courtyard developed a bad reputation. City officials cited it repeatedly for visible junk and debris, unlicensed vehicles, a lack of smoke detectors and additional safety hazards inside the motel. Finally, two years before his term ended as mayor, Matthew Godfrey shut it down in 2010.

When the Courtyard reopened in May 2012, it was just like old times. Police regularly visited the motel, responding to complaints about drug use, theft and assault.

Records show police answered 71 calls at the Courtyard between November 2016 and June 2017. At a certain point, Ogden can’t sustain that kind of drain on its police force; it hurts the entire city.

City leaders wanted to extend the 25th Street arts and dining scene by creating a public square east of Grant Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, between 24th and 26th. They envisioned a “Creative District” that carries pedestrians between the remodeled Weber County Library, in the 2400 block of Jefferson, and downtown Ogden.

But that couldn’t happen with the police constantly making arrests at the Courtyard Inn. So the city council agreed to buy the motel for $970,000.

The council approved an initial $250,000 payment in August as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, with plans to appropriate the rest in a year. At that point, the city can demolish the Courtyard Inn and designate funding for the plaza.

That will be a good day — the day Ogden extends one of the most vibrant Main Streets in America.

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