OGDEN -- The latest project in the ongoing effort to revitalize central Ogden has provided a much-needed face-lift for one inner city neighborhood.
The city just completed its Prairie Cove development, a new subdivision that consists of three 1,600-square-foot Prairie-style homes on what was only months ago a blighted weed patch.
The project, which sits on the north side of 23rd Street, immediately east of Monroe Boulevard, began in early spring. The city has already sold one of the three new homes at the site.
The new subdivision is a small part of the Community Development Department's mission to stabilize and revitalize Ogden's neighborhoods, so that they become "neighborhoods of choice."
"We try and take care of the worst parts of these neighborhoods," said Ward Ogden, the city's deputy community development director. "Then the theory is, other good things will start to follow after that. Someone in the area might paint their house, someone might fix their roof -- we've seen it happen. You hope for a domino effect."
Ogden said healthy neighborhoods link with economic vitality, public amenities, recreation opportunities, effective transportation, quality education and efficient governance.
"A strong community identity makes Ogden a strong city," he said.
The city has owned the property, which was once occupied by two old, run-down homes, since the mid-1990s.
Those homes were torn down years ago, but the city couldn't do anything with the property until it was able to purchase the home on the western border of the property eight months ago.
"It just hasn't been functional until now," said Jeremy Smith, project coordinator. "But when we were able to purchase the home on the corner, it opened everything up. We're obviously thrilled. When it was just a big weed patch, it was kind of a magnet for debauchery."
As a result of a change to the city's zoning ordinance about a year ago, the homes were required to be built at a certain size and with high-grade building materials.
"We built these to respect the historic architecture in this part of the city," Ogden said. "You won't find some of the newer, cheaper materials, like vinyl siding. We want these homes to convey the message that this is a historic neighborhood and it's worth investing in."
The homes are priced at $159,000 each, the approximate cost for the city to build them.
"We basically sell them for what we build them for," Smith said. "There's no profit."
Ogden said the city pays for projects like the Prairie Cove development mostly through federal funding.
The city also has a line of credit it uses for construction financing.
"What we're trying to do as a city government is jump in and do some things the private sector can't or won't do," Ogden said. "Then you hope you create an energy and private development follows."
The city also plans to fix sidewalks and driveway approaches in the area.
For more information, visit ogdencityhomes.com.