Ogden council to hear streetcar input tonight

Jan 10 2012 - 12:42am

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OGDEN -- The great Ogden streetcar debate is set to heat up again. The Ogden City Council will hold a special fact-finding work session tonight to discuss the viability of a streetcar project in the city.

The meeting will be held in the council chambers at the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd., immediately following the city's regular council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

The session comes after the council persuaded a group of stakeholders in June to temporarily stop work on the streetcar project so an independent study could be conducted.

The city council hired consultant GB Arrington, who works for PB PlaceMaking Inc., based in Portland, Ore., to determine the viability of federal funding for the project and the economic impact of the streetcar system linking downtown, Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.

Bill Cook, the council's executive director, said Arrington will present the findings of his viability analysis at the session.

In addition to Arrington, Bruce Cardon, regional general manager of the Utah Transit Authority; Norm Tarbox, vice president of Administrative Services at Weber State University; Dan Schroeder, chairman of the Ogden Sierra Club; and Shalae Larsen, from the citizen group Trolley District, will speak at the meeting.

The council wants the streetcar to run from the Intermodal Hub on Wall Avenue up 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, along Washington to 25th Street, up 25th to Harrison Boulevard and on to Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.

The council maintains that route would foster development and best serve residents.

But a study spearheaded by UTA indicates the preferred route is from the Intermodal Hub along 23rd Street, to Washington Boulevard, along Washington to 36th Street to Harrison Boulevard and then to Weber State and McKay-Dee.

Larsen said that, like the city council, the Trolley District group wants to see the streetcar go up 25th Street.

"The (25th Street) route serves the community best in terms of economic redevelopment," she said. "It would hit more potentially redevelopable land and vacant space than any of the other routes."

If a streetcar does get built in Ogden, it would cost an estimated $160 million.

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