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Second meeting held to get feedback, give update on Union Station Neighborhood

By Rob Nielsen - | Sep 22, 2023

Rob Nielsen, Standard-Examiner

Attendees leave feedback at the second community conversation regarding the Union Station Neighborhood on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.

OGDEN — The people of Ogden got another opportunity to shape what nearly 30 acres around Union Station will look like and what the function of the former railroad depot will be in the future.

Wednesday marked the Union Station Neighborhood’s second community conversation, held at the station itself. Since the first open house in June, the group has appeared at several community events compiling suggestions and feedback from residents.

Robb Berg, president of Design Workshop — the design and planning firm working on the neighborhood concept — said Wednesday was about gathering feedback on the public spaces that could be added in and around Union Station.

“We’re really focused on the public realm,” he said. “We’re trying to get people to weigh in on, ‘What are some of those great, experiential public spaces that they want to see within the entire Union Station neighborhood?'”

He said that the main focus thus far has been preservation of the site’s history.

“The feedback has been really positive,” he said. “We came to that last listening session talking about how important preservation and telling the historical story of Union Station is to this project. From the design and development side, the history is one of the most important components of this development and will remain one of the most important components of this development as we continue to develop designs.”

Berg said that the public feels the same way about the preservation of the area’s history.

“People want to make sure that this team understands how significant Union Station is and the history of this place is to the development team, so the development team doesn’t miss the mark or get it wrong,” he said.

Ryan Davis, partner with J Fisher Cos. and lead development manager for the Union Station Neighborhood, told the Standard-Examiner that they’ve heard several lines of feedback from people.

“The main themes we’ve heard are the excitement for reinvestment in this part of town, the opportunity to tie into Historic 25th Street,” he said. “There’s been a big push to celebrate and preserve the historical assets such as the Grand Hall and some of the other historical buildings. There’s been a lot of communication around the museums for expanding and preserving the museums. We’ve heard everything from activation around food and beverage or entertainment districts to providing a spectrum of housing to integrating trails and pedestrian experiences and gathering places for the community.”

Davis said they will continue to organize and listen to feedback between now and the next community conversation meeting, which is tentatively set for Nov. 15 and will feature a rough draft of a concept of what the site could potentially look like.

Berg said he believes people are ready to see some potential plans take shape.

“That’s going to be our next community conversation — where we actually start ot bring some plans — because at this point, it’s probably too abstract of a thought how all of this is coming together,” he said. “They’re anxious to see plans and we’re anxious to start drawing those, but we wanted those plans to be informed by the community and their feedback, and that’s why we’ve resisted drawing plans until we’ve had these important conversations.”

He added that there are some things that absolutely won’t happen as part of the Union Station Neighborhood project.

“There was a big misconception that the developer was going to tear down the station — which was never going to happen,” he said.

Wednesday’s event attracted several dozen visitors over two hours and allowed them to leave feedback on what they would like to see the campus become in the coming years.

Berg said he’s happy with the turnout and the abundance of feedback the group has received and added there are plans to seek more venues in the coming months.

“We’re excited by the turnout of the people that we’re getting at these events,” he said. “We’re in talks with Weber State (University) to actually do the same sort of pop-up event at Weber State … and other places around town so that if 5:30 on a Wednesday isn’t perfect for you to come to Union Station, we’re going to ideally go to the people and try to get even more people to participate.”

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