Ogden's ice tower dreams melted?

May 13 2010 - 9:54am

OGDEN -- The city administration's plan for a controversial $1.5 million ice climbing tower downtown has been dropped.

The project that has been on the drawing board since 2003 isn't being pursued, Jay Lowder, the city's public services director, said Wednesday.

"There has been a lack of funding to come in because of the bad economy," he said.

The cost of erecting it at 25th Street and Kiesel Avenue instead of its original location at Big D Park off 12th Street doubled expenses for the project, said John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer. The city also had difficulty raising funds from outdoor recreation firms because of the possible environmental impacts of the ice tower, he said.

The city council also Tuesday night eliminated the ice tower from its 2011-2015 capital improvement plan. The CIP is a wish list for possible capital projects and is updated annually by the city council.

The elimination of the ice tower project means that about $101,000 the city council set aside in 2008 can be used for other CIP projects, said Janene Eller-Smith, a council policy analyst. It hasn't been determined how the funds will be used, she said.

The ice tower had been on the drawing board since 2003.

It was originally slated to cost $120,000 but the price tag grew to $1.5 million because construction and design plans changed to create a year-round venue, Patterson said.

Last year, the city returned $200,000 in RAMP tax funds and about $8,950 in interest to Weber County because private donations weren't forthcoming. The ice tower was to be managed by Ogden Climbing Parks, a now defunct nonprofit organization headed by renowned climber Jeff Lowe.

Lowe could not be reached for comment Wednesday regarding the elimination of the ice tower project or the status of Ogden Climbing Parks.

Related link: This article is a topic of discussion at Weber County Forum.

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