Redevelopment of ex-Ogden School District land edges out of starting block
OGDEN — With the Ogden School District decision to get rid of three parcels of property, plans to convert one into park space and another into a housing development are edging out of the starting block.
The third parcel, the 5.15-acre ex-Grandview Elementary site at 3865 Jackson Ave., was listed for sale just last week by the school district for $2.08 million.
The future of the ex-Grandview Elementary site, the ex-Lynn Elementary property at 625 Grant Ave. and a vacant parcel at 605 N. Jackson Ave. was the focus of sometimes heated debate late last year and early this year. Ogden city officials ultimately decided last March to buy the ex-Lynn Elementary and 605 N. Jackson Ave. properties, setting the wheels in motion for redevelopment of the land.
With last week’s listing of the ex-Grandview Elementary property, formally putting it up for sale, here’s where things stand with redevelopment of the parcels.
Ex-Grandview Elementary site: The parcel in southern Ogden — zoned for low-density housing, including single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes — abuts the city-owned Grandview Park just to the north. The elementary school has already been torn down and the site is largely vacant, though the old school’s parking lot remains.
The administration of Mayor Mike Caldwell said the property should be left to the private sector to develop, which figured in the city decision to forego acquisition of the land. Per state law, the city had first dibs on purchase of the three Ogden School district properties.
Thus, the school district is now marketing it, accepting offers through Oct. 2. The listing asks would-be buyers to submit their plans to use the site, which will figure in selecting a purchaser.
“Interested parties have been asked to submit an explanation of planned use for the site along with offers. All aspects of proposals will be considered,” the district said in a message to the Standard-Examiner. The Ogden school board will have final say on buyer selection.
Ex-Lynn Elementary site: City officials opted last March to buy the 5.87-acre property for $955,000 with the aim of developing the land into park space. The old school is long gone and the largely vacant land at 625 Grant Ave. abuts 4th Street Ball Park and Romrell Park, city-owned parks.
Ogden Recreation Manager Edd Bridge said the city has picked a consultant, Method Studio of Salt Lake City, to come up with a master plan to weave the land and the two adjacent parks together. The 4th Street Ball Park has three baseball/softball fields while Romrell Park is largely an open field.
“I anticipate the parks will stay separate but will all flow together well,” Bridge said. The two parks and ex-Lynn Elementary land cover 26.7 acres.
The city seeks a plan from Method Studio to enhance the three existing ball fields, to add two new ball fields and to add seven new multi-use fields that could accommodate soccer and lacrosse games. The plans are to include seating and dugouts for the two new ball fields as well as batting cages, a concession stand, restrooms, playgrounds and more.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Bridge said. The revamped park, he said, would be Ogden’s first city-owned sports complex capable of accommodating a range of athletic activities.
Method Studio is to come up with perhaps two proposals, including price tags, by next March. The mayoral administration and City Council would have final say on next steps.
The city last month closed on acquisition for $300,000 of a parcel containing a home at 497 Grant Ave., adjacent to the ex-Lynn Elementary land. That property will be folded into the park plans.
605 N. Jackson Ave.: The 6.55-acre northern Ogden parcel was originally envisioned as a site for a school, but the need for a facility in the area never materialized. Thus the school district decided to get rid of it and the city opted to buy it for $1.08 million at the same time it decided to acquire the ex-Lynn Elementary property.
The city wants to develop perhaps 26 homes on the land as part of its Quality Neighborhoods Initiative, but concrete plans have not yet been formulated, said Jeremy Smith, Ogden’s community development manager.
He anticipates the homes serving moderate-income families, with the city overseeing development and ultimately selling each new unit to individual buyers. That’s similar to the schematic the city followed in developing the Stone Hill and Oak Den housing developments in central Ogden.
For now, city staffers are working on engineering details of the land and Smith expects it will be at least a year before any construction begins.
The overall aim of the city is neighborhood revitalization. “We’re good if we break even on these,” Smith said.
All told, the school district stands to potentially gain $4.11 million from the sale of the three parcels. Per state law, the money is to be used for capital project needs in the school system — land acquisition, facility improvements or new construction, for instance. Officials haven’t yet determined how the money is to be used, though, according to Zane Woolstenhulme, the business administrator for the district.
The school district had also been considering the sale of a parcel of land containing a rental home at 685 N. Jackson Ave., directly to the north of the 605 N. Jackson Ave. property. For now, though, the district has decided to hold onto the property, Woolstenhulme said.