Harrison Plaza needs music

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 3:55 PM

Editorial Board

We have concerns with the Ogden City Council’s decision to not allow music or dancing at the desolate, little-used Harrison Plaza shopping center. In fact, the council’s approval of the planning commission’s recommendation to deny a zoning ordinance change — to allow live music and dancing — strikes us as counter-productive, given the city’s expressed desire to turn Junction City into a Weber State University college town.

If city officials can’t agree to allow a healthy, safety-first dose of dancing and music at Harrison Plaza, how serious is Ogden about having Junction City be known as a college town? There are claims that the city has long-range plans to create a mixed-use transit center and stop at Harrison Plaza, but frankly, that idea and $1 will buy you a 36-ounce soda pop at most Ogden convenience stores.

It’s not as if would-be entrepreneur Ernest McKown was asking the city to set up an establishment that would feature hard rock and/or alcoholic beverages. On the contrary, the request for a zoning change would have been for an establishment that would not serve alcoholic beverages. It would have been an ideal location for youths under 21 to socialize in a safe neighborhood close to home. Also, the establishment would have closed at a reasonable time, thereby not being a noise restriction to nearby residents.

The council’s decision to keep Harrison Plaza mired in its current depressing state may be a missed opportunity. It appears Ogden’s leaders failed to take advantage of a chance to do something that would provide a bright spot in the heart of the city, as well as more closely align the city with Weber State University for students and other residents.

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