OGDEN — Catholic Community Services is eyeing an ambitious expansion plan and now the longtime Ogden nonprofit has clearance from the city to begin.
On Tuesday night, the Ogden City Council approved an amendment to the city’s West Ogden Community Plan and a separate rezone of the CCS property at 2504 F Ave. in west Ogden.
The organization, which provides a host of services for Weber County’s homeless and hungry population, wants to raze its hodgepodge of a building to construct a new facility. CCS is currently housed in the old Hopkins Elementary School, which served west Ogden families from 1918 to 1977 before closing.
CCS Director Maresha Bosgieter said the building, which is more than a century old and features numerous, ill-conceived add-ons and remodels, is not efficient or safe enough for CCS clientele or employees.
“There are definitely a lot of safety and operational issues that we face out there,” Bosgieter said. “It’s just the age of the building and the layout of it present a lot of challenges.”
In addition to its three hallmark programs — which include Utah’s largest regional food bank, a mobile food pantry and an initiative that helps low-income families with infants — CCS also operates as a community center on the west end of town. Public meetings are often held at the facility, but due to restroom locations, parts of the building that would normally be secure and locked at night, must remain open during those meetings.
Bosgieter said donors that would help fund a full-scale redevelopment of the site are “waiting in the wings” and CCS is currently working with Wadman Corp. and an architect to sketch out development plans in more detail. But moving the proposal forward was contingent on Ogden City’s community plan amendment and property rezone.
“We’ve been waiting on that before we can really dive in,” Bosgieter said.
The council’s Tuesday night action allows for a “campus-style” redevelopment beyond the city’s central business district, said Ogden Planning Manager Greg Montgomery. The new zoning also encourages the full redevelopment of sites rather than renovation of older, existing facilities. Montgomery said the West Ogden Community Plan had identified the area where CCS now sits as one for residential uses, but the city’s planning commission felt it was appropriate to change it. CCS currently operates under a legal “non-conforming” use, but significant site changes necessitate a rezone.
Ogden resident Ralph Price Jr., who has been a vocal advocate for the underprivileged, praised the work CCS and reiterated the need for a new facility for the organization.
“There are families that are alive today because of them ... families that are together because of them,” he said. “We don’t have it as good over there in west Ogden ... but we’re coming.”