NORTH OGDEN -- The canal at Bicentennial Park, 2641 N. 400 East, is getting to be a real problem; although, a bigger problem might be how the city will pay the $1.2 million to pipe it.
The man-made canal runs through the park, but it is getting to be a danger because the banks are getting weaker. However, at a price of $1.2 million to pipe it, the city needs to decide how it can fund it.
The discussion started about the same time the council was discussing what Recreation, Arts, Museum and Parks grants to apply for. Community Activities Director Tiffany Staheli said her department would like to apply for funding to complete and connect the trail at Bicentennial Park, but it can't be done until the canal is fixed or piped.
"I don't think RAMP will approve money for a pipe that will go in the ground," Staheli told the council.
Mayor Richard Harris said the canal is a real concern.
"I'm suggesting the council needs to consider piping the canal in the near future," Harris said.
The city doesn't own the canal, it's owned by the North Ogden Canal Company. But, because it's on city property it's the city's problem, Harris said.
The canal company has not expressed a desire to pipe the canal, he said.
"Any damage that occurs is the city's responsibility," he said.
He noted that it's more of a liability for the city than the canal company. Harris said that the city has been working with the company for years but hasn't been able to get a commitment to fix the canal.
Many of the city's canals have been piped previously, when there have been these types of problems, he said.
Part of the funding issue is that money has been taken from the Capital Projects fund for the public works building, not leaving a lot in the fund for expenditures like piping the canal.
Piping the canal could be considered a capital investment, Harris said.
"As much as you hate the word borrow, we can borrow from ourselves," Harris said in regard to trying to fund the piping of the canal or for other projects the city is applying for in RAMP grants.
The city is also applying to fund park bathrooms that will cost $500,000 and is seeking $250,000 from RAMP. In order to get the grant, the city must be able to put up half of the costs.
Jim Urry, who will join the council in January, offered the option to fence the canal, but Harris said that wouldn't work because there isn't enough room. He also suggested adding a water feature like the South Ogden nature park. He also said he wanted to get the canal company involved.