Ogden Downtown Alliance celebrates 5 years increasing economic vitality
OGDEN — During its annual town hall meeting Wednesday, the Ogden Downtown Alliance celebrated 2021 having proved to be a difficult yet successful year, marking the end of the organization’s initial five-year strategic plan and beginning of a new one.
Rebounding from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 involved a lot of behind-the-scene work, said ODA Executive Director Kim Bowsher, but they were able to bring back downtown events at full scale safely.
According to Bowsher, ODA staff members were worried people would hesitate to travel downtown for events with multiple construction projects happening in the area, but that turned out not to be the case.
An estimated $8.1 million was raised through ODA events in 2021, with the city’s Historic 25th Street Car Show having a record-breaking 9,000 attendees.
Gary Johnson, a sales manager with Swire Coca Cola, said there are a lot of things happening downtown and it is good to see people get out of their houses.
As promoters of 25th Street and one of ODA’s founding partners, Johnson was present Wednesday morning along with Marketing Development Manager Brandt Barker to accept an award on behalf of the beverage company.
Bowsher presented awards to all five of ODA’s founding partners as a token of their appreciation in funding the organization in its first five years as well as supporting events and businesses.
Mari Roberts, an administrative assistant with Child Richards CPAs and Advisors, attended the town hall for a much different reason: parking.
Business growth in downtown is taking a toll on parking. Roberts said more retail businesses are expected to take the place of parking north of 25th Street, known as “electric alley.”
“It is gong to impact business significantly,” she said.
According to ODA Marketing and Public Relations Manager Hailie Van Patten, parking downtown will eventually change as part the organization’s 2022-2026 strategic plan. In the meantime, two-hour parking passes are available.
Businesses in the Nine Rails Creative District are currently accepting vouchers due to construction on 25th Street. Vouchers in the amount of $15 are available to the public as an incentive to continue to buy local during the construction of 22 bus rapid transit stations throughout the city.
Vouchers will vary by businesses affected during construction at all locations. All participating businesses will be refunded by the Utah Transit Authority for vouchers used at their establishments.
Ogden has been recognized as being one of the most charitable communities in recent years with the most access to opportunities in the United States, according to Mayor Mike Caldwell, who spoke at the town hall.
Caldwell said he believes the city is in an “amazing” state right now. “The community came together in a very unique way,” he said while thanking ODA, group partners and local businesses for their time and energy.