OGDEN -- An organization is ramping up its efforts to secure a streetcar route along 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard and then on to Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital.
The Trolley District Citizens Action Network sent a letter last week to Utah Transit Authority officials and Mayor Matthew Godfrey touting the benefits of the route.
"The tax base stands to increase at a far more brisk pace, as the commercial potential that is currently sitting vacant and abandoned (along the route) is finally filled with productive businesses," the letter states. "Houses will be renovated and returned to productive status in our community."
The route supported by TDCAN would begin at Ogden's Intermodal Hub at 23rd Street and Wall Avenue, travel up 23rd Street to Washington Boulevard, south to 25th Street and then along 25th to Harrison Boulevard ending in the vicinity of Weber State and McKay-Dee.
Another route under consideration by UTA would run along Washington Boulevard to 36th Street to Harrison Boulevard and on to Weber State and McKay-Dee.
Competing routes could prevent the Federal Transit Administration from providing money for the streetcar system, said Sue Wilkerson, an Ogden Realtor and a TDCAN member.
"If we can't come to a consensus about a route, it probably won't be funded," she said.
It could be several years before federal funding is sought for the streetcar, said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter.
An alternatives analysis to determine the specific route is moving at a glacial pace but should be completed in the next few months, Carpenter said. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the study.
The Washington Boulevard to 36th Street route seems to have the greatest chance of receiving federal funding, said Carpenter.
The route is attractive because potentially only 15 properties would have to be acquired by UTA, it has fewer traffic impacts and would help stimulate economic development, said Carpenter.
It will be up to stakeholders, including UTA, the city of Ogden, the state Department of Transportation, the Weber Area Council of Governments, the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Weber State and McKay-Dee, to determine which route or combination of routes will be chosen for further study.
TDCAN has done considerable work on the streetcar project but UTA doesn't agree with the organization's conclusions about the viability of the 25th Street-Harrison Boulevard route, said Carpenter.
However, TDCAN said in its letter to UTA officials and Godfrey its findings are based on its own research as well as information from UTA.
Data from the Ogden Planning Department shows there is three times more vacant or immediately developable land along the 25th Street-Harrison Boulevard route and twice the amount of immediately leasable commercial space than along the Washington Boulevard-36th Street route, the letter says.
"Washington (Boulevard) won't change much, it is already a commercial corridor and built out," the letter states.
"If there are changes on Washington, it won't be for 10 to 15 years, far too long to help our resurgence currently underway. We need immediate economic returns, not a future-paced version."
Godfrey said he hasn't made up his mind about which route is best, but supports TDCAN's position that the streetcar system should be a catalyst to improve the city's East Central area.
"I share their passion for revitalizing those neighborhoods," he said.