Letter: Ogden’s Wonderblock plan – a want or a need?
I’m not specifically aware of when, during the “Make Ogden” public input sessions, the residents of our city were particularly supportive of the current Wonderblock development plan as opposed to our ongoing infrastructure needs or perhaps affordable housing needs, which remain unmet. The land transfer occurred in 2020. After that, for some reason, it was determined a no-bid contract was in order for a 240 million dollar development.
The developer’s presentation includes 354 apartments that we, the taxpayers will subsidize, if 70% of rents are not collected (which could be an incentive for the rents to be set above market value?). Keep in mind, taxpayers are evidently still subsidizing the Junction. More retail space is planned, though we have vacant space now, and it is unknown who would rent it. In this plan, Ogden taxpayers get to pay for a parking garage and then get to pay to park in it. Somehow, we will see our investment pay off in 30 years if it all works out. What if it doesn’t?
Contrast this with how financial stability and an uncertain economic climate has been all the rage as the challenge continues to rebuild the Marshall White Center for 23 million and is still not fully funded (of the 23 million, 15 million is apparently still needed). Consider the money already spent on the Wonderblock and the additional 117 to 160+ million dollar total for the two bonds the city must put up.
The vote to move forward occurs January 10th and just ahead of a municipal election year. We should all be paying attention.