OGDEN — Nearly a year-and-a-half in the making, Ogden City has formally adopted a sweeping, long-range master plan that will guide development downtown for decades to come.
And while elements of the plan aren’t necessarily cast in stone, the measure includes several ambitious projects that stand to change the face of the city’s Central Business District.
On Tuesday, the Ogden City Council unanimously adopted the “Make Ogden” downtown master plan. The plan represents a complete overhaul of the city’s now former community plan for the downtown district and will be used as a blueprint for growth and expansion there for at least 25 years.
“We’re at a very important decision point in the future of downtown Ogden,” said Robb Berg, a planner with Denver-based urban design firm Design Workshop, which worked with the city to develop the plan. “Decisions made moving forward ... will have a significant impact on the trajectory of Ogden. This isn’t the conclusion of something, but rather the beginning of a movement in Ogden.”
With the council’s approval, Make Ogden will now be integrated into the city’s General Plan, which provides a framework and common vision for all future development in Ogden. The General Plan includes guidelines and policy statements for things like facilities, community identity, economic development, environmental resources, housing, land use, neighborhoods, open space and transportation.
Make Ogden is like a miniature version of the General Plan, focusing the same principles on a smaller section of the city. Ogden’s Central Business District includes all land from 20th to 27th streets between Wall and Adams avenues. Ogden Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Brandon Cooper said the CBD master plan hasn’t been updated in more than a decade.
Berg said nearly 5,000 new housing units, 7,000 new jobs, 1,000 new hotel rooms and 4,500 new parking stalls are included in the plan. Those items would be implemented incrementally in four different phases through 2045.
Aside from those benchmarks, several large-scale construction projects or renovations of downtown landmarks are also included in the plan — work that would also occur incrementally over the next 25 years. Ogden Planning Manager Greg Montgomery said the plan also includes stringent development standards protecting against low-quality building.
“One of the key elements (of the plan) is design standards — really getting the quality of buildings that should be built in the downtown area,” he said. “That’s something that has really been lacking downtown.”
For downtown roads, the plan calls for 26th Street to be extended to the Weber River, a southern extension of the Grant Avenue Promenade to 27th Street, a reconstruction of Wall Avenue and a rebuilding of the 24th Street Viaduct. The measure also calls for a host of improvements along Historic 25th Street and to Electric Alley to the north of it.
An expansion of the Ogden Eccles Conference Center and mixed-use building around the FrontRunner station are also key construction details. Perhaps the most ambitious construction centers around the Ogden City Municipal block (which surrounds the city hall building at 2549 Washington Blvd.) and Union Station to the west.
On the municipal block, the plan calls for an overhaul of the Municipal Gardens area, which would feature new housing and an expansion of the Ogden Amphitheater. The amphitheater would reconfigure the facility’s stage so it faces west. The plan also calls for the continued redevelopment of the old Hostess/Wonder Bread factory just west of the municipal block. The city had previously tabbed the Wonder block as a “community reinvestment area” which allows for the use tax increment financing to help fund a host of redevelopment items — vacant building removal, the development of new housing units, public infrastructure improvements, the renovation of existing buildings and more.
The old factory, the Weber County Jail, the Ogden Justice Court and the Salvation Army, Bank of Utah and American Linen buildings are listed as potential redevelopment sites. Other key projects include the construction of new attached single-family and multi-family units, consolidation of parking and the redevelopment of portions of the municipal block.
Union Station is also a major factor in the plan. The nearly 100-year-old train station would be part of a westward expansion of the downtown sector and upgrades to the station spelled out in the plan include a new museum building and train hall, a new parking structure and a transit plaza that connects to the nearby FrontRunner station.
On Tuesday, council members expressed enthusiasm for the plan, but Council Chair Angela Choberka noted that work downtown is only just beginning. The plan also includes recommendations for future zoning and land use regulations. Those things and individual projects highlighted in the plan will continue to come to the council for review for years to come.
“The process will continue,” she said. “Just because we passed the plan, doesn’t mean (citizens) won’t have additional opportunity to be part of the discussions as it moves forward.”