I just got off the phone with George Benford, head of Ogden’s public utilities. Since there’s been so much interest in the construction above the 36th Street trailhead, and since I just mentioned the tanks in the story I did last week on the water lines, I thought a bit of expansion was in order.
First, yes, they do need the tanks. This is the first major capacity addition to Ogden’s water system in more than the 30 years that I’ve lived here. George can’t remember how long its been. An extra 4 million gallons capacity is not that much, really, but valuable.
Second, they’re building two tanks up there, one for 5 million gallons and one for 1 million gallons. The current two 1 million gallon tanks will be torn down. That’s why we’re only picking up 4 million new.
Third, the tanks will be underground.
Fourth, one of the reasons the ground up there is so torn up is that they’re digging around among the three — yes, three — earthquake fault lines that cross that area. A water tank crossing a fault line is bad, trust me.
Fifth — The city is also adding a smaller tank (sorry, forgot to ask how big) above 27th Street. This tank is being built on land owned by the Behnken family, which owns the dog food plant. George says it will serve to add more pressure and water quality to homes below Taylor Canyon and, yeah, it will also add the ability to build homes at the mouth of Taylor Canyon.
I TOLD you we needed to have the Forest Service find the money to buy that land. As it is, it’s the Behnken family’s land, this is Utah, property rights are sacrosanct.
Sixth — No, the tanks at 36th Street will not adequately do what the tank above 27th will do, or so George says.
I’ve told George what we need to do is run a graphic or map showing all this, so people will know how large the work will be and how extensive the disruption of the land will be.
Sop what does all this mean for development?
Try not to stress out — people can propose anything they want. Peterson proposed a network of million dollar homes above the Mt. Ogden Golf Course and look how far that went, mostly killed by seismic concerns. Mayor Godfrey proposed a gondola, and that’s as dead as Marley’s Ghost.
Reality gets in the way of many a proposal — three earthquake fault lines will make finding financing for any development in the 36th Street trailhead area very iffy. The predictable firestorm of public opposition will also make it iffy. Then there’s the WSU policy that if any of its land is used (as per plans posted by Dan Schroeder at the Weber County Forum) any buildings have to be replaced elsewhere at no cost to the University, which won’t be cheap.
So, sure, be concerned, but temper your concern with realities. Don’t panic, work the problem.