UPDATE: Ogden School District to put ex-Grandview Elementary site up for sale on Sept. 1
OGDEN — The Ogden School District plans to put the ex-Grandview Elementary property in southern Ogden on the market on Sept. 1, according to Zane Woolstenhulme, business administrator for the school system.
The property was a focus of intense discussion late last year and earlier this year as Ogden officials were debating whether to acquire it and three other school district-owned parcels, possibly for use as park space. City officials ultimately opted against buying the ex-Grandview site and now it seems the land is destined for housing.
Indeed, Ogden city officials are considering a rezone of the 5.15-acre parcel in the 3800 block of Jackson Avenue, just south of Grandview Park, to allow for single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes. Woolstenhulme said school officials are awaiting completion of those efforts, hence the Sept. 1 date.
“We’ll hold off on marketing the property until that has worked itself out,” he said.
Of the four parcels the Ogden School District plans to sell, Ogden officials ultimately decided to acquire two of them. One is a 6.55-acre site at 605 N. Jackson Ave., where the city plans to develop up to 26 single-family homes. The other is the 5.87-acre ex-Lynn Elementary site at 625 Grant Ave., to be developed into park space. The ex-Lynn property abuts the city’s 4th Street Ball Park and Romrell Park.
Aside from the former Grandview Elementary site, the City Council opted against buying the 0.56-acre site at 685 N. Jackson Ave. just north of the 605 N. Jackson Ave. site, where a home sits.
In arguing against acquisition of the former Grandview Elementary site, reps from the administration of Mayor Mike Caldwell argued there would be strong demand for the land among private developers. Steve Van Wagoner of Ogden Soccer, a local soccer club, had argued in favor of buying the land and using it as park space in a March 30 letter to school officials, when he asked, to no avail, that they postpone making any decisions on the property.
The former Grandview site, if turned into park space, “would be accessible to all members of the community and provide a much-needed area for outdoor recreation and relaxation,” Van Wagoner wrote.
On Friday, he expressed disappointment with the determination to sell. At a May 8 mayoral forum, he sensed support from six of the seven hopefuls for the Ogden leadership spot for using the school property that’s to be sold for park space. Creating more park space, he argued, can help address what he says is heightened concern about the mental health of youth.
Van Wagoner also sent an email to the Ogden school board on Friday, reiterating his call for school officials to suspend any action on the ex-Grandview property, at least until after city elections later this year. A new mayor will be elected and three City Council seats are up for grabs and he thinks the new slate of leaders should have a chance to weigh in on the issue.
“Please don’t make a forever decision during an election cycle that may negatively impact Ogden for the rest of time,” Van Wagoner wrote in the message, supplied to the Standard-Examiner.
As for the rezone efforts on the parcel, Ogden Planning Manager Barton Brierley said the Ogden Planning Commission last week voted to recommend a rezone reducing the density of permissible housing on the ex-Grandview site, should development proceed. The City Council has final say and will now take up the issue.
As is, the land’s zoning, R-3, allows for apartments. Per the recommended rezone to R-2S, townhomes, duplexes and small single-family homes could be developed on the land, but not apartments. There are many apartment buildings taking shape in Ogden, Brierley said, but not so much development that allows for home ownership, which figures in the proposed rezone.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with comments from Steve Van Wagoner.