OGDEN — Plans for the arts plaza at 25th Street and Ogden Avenue march forward and the space, though not set to be complete until October, has a name — the Dumke Arts Plaza.
“As a public gathering space, it’s really designed to bring the community together around all different types of art,” said Sara Meess, senior program coordinator for community and economic development for the City of Ogden.
The plaza has been a topic of discussion since at least 2017, when the City Council approved plans to tear down the old Courtyard Inn motel that used to sit at the space, just east of the Bigelow Hotel. On Tuesday, officials approved the 2020-2021 budget amendment allowing the $4 million plaza construction project to proceed. Actual construction is to start this spring and work is to be done by Oct. 15, according to city documents.
The council also formalized the naming agreement with the Dr. Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation, which provided $2.2 million for the project. The space will be named for the foundation — The Dr. Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke Foundation Arts Plaza in long form or just the Dumke Arts Plaza.
City officials and representatives from the local arts community held a series of arts activities leading up to the decision to move forward with the plaza plans, Meess said. They reinforced the notion behind the initiative.
“It was really amazing to see through these pilot projects how public art could increase vibrancy and activity in our community. I think we also saw how art in the public realm can help build community connections and really increase our sense of place and civic pride,” Meess said.
The Nine Rails initiative calls for creation of an arts district roughly between 24rd and 26th streets, between Washington Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue. The Monarch Building, containing art studios and and the new Ogden Contemporary Arts gallery, is part of that.
Here are some more details about the planned Dumke Arts Plaza:
- Acquisition of the site, demolition of the Courtyard Inn and plaza design cost around $1.96 million. Construction of the plaza is estimated at $4 million, with $2.2 million coming from the Dumke Foundation, $450,000 to come from a grant tapping local sales tax revenue and $800,000 coming from city revenue. Officials hope to get another $550,000 in grant money.
- It will feature “flexible open space” to accommodate varied sizes of arts events. It’s to have a large LED screen for multimedia art displays as well as a sculpture extending over 25th Street, meant to lure visitors. A series of light poles will allow for art installations suspended from above while an elevated platform will serve as an area for additional arts programming. It’s to contain a play area with “misting poles and usable chimes that give people something to interact with at the site in addition to the art,” Meess said.
Programming: Weber State University is planning to curate two to three major installations a year in the plaza, funded by a university endowment and the Dumke Foundation. It’ll also be used for “community-driven programming” like arts events, concerts, video art and more. “We really envision that community programming taking place side by side with the Weber State installations,” Meess said.