Successful efforts to economically boost Ogden need to include a plan for West Ogden. There was a time, decades ago, that the area flourished. There was a larger railroad influence, and stockyards. The Exchange Building glistened, with businesses related to the commerce west of the railroad tracks.
One 29-year resident, Kim Patterson, who owns a home near B Avenue and Exchange Road, says none of the changes have been for the better. Last year, Patterson regarded as"insulting" and offer from Ogden city to buy his home for $10,000.
It may not appear that way today, but West Ogden can be an asset to Junction City. Ogden city planners, and residents of West Ogden understand that the area can flourish with both an emphasis on clean energy and the history of the area. That means that many of the decaying buildings need to be restored and put to use.
In a recent article in the Standard-Examiner (Read), conclusions of meetings between West Ogden residents and Ogden city planners -- in bettering the community -- are reported. The subjects discussed include the community's identity, land use, transportation. One key goal involves getting federal and state help to make 24th Street a full interchange, thereby making West Ogden a key entry into Ogden.
Other issues deal with presenting a community feel to an area of Ogden that currently does not have an elementary school, paved roads, access to secondary water, or historic buildings that are being protected. A West Ogden community center may help the residents to bond as neighbors.
Land use is another issue. Open space needs to be preserved; residents need downpayment assistance in building homes. Areas near the bike trail need to be better maintained, and new businesses need to be encouraged, particularly if 24th Street is improved and enters into Ogden. Pedestrian access across the current 24th Street viaduct must be improved.
Making West Ogden grow, and become a more desirable place to live will take a long time. But it can be done. Our hope is in decades ahead that today's condition of Ogden's west side is only a memory, and the area will be thriving.