Ogden and Godfrey make the Trib

Interesting story in the S.L. Trib yesterday about Mayor Matthew Godfrey and his efforts to redevelop Ogden. You can read it here (click!) 

Nice to see Ogden finally make news in Salt Lake media that doesn’t involve murders or other disasters.

My take: The story’s about right. I’ve been one of the critics it mentions as going after his tendency to hold things too close to the vest (see my column of May 17, I think it was)  and push people around, and I’d love to beat that gondola idea of his into a bloody pulp once and for all.

On the other hand there’s no arguing with the successes he’s had. The Junction is moving along pretty well, downtown Ogden has a nice feel to it, especially lower 25th Street, and things in general seem to be at least holding firm despite the recession.

On the other other hand, one has to be careful about giving him too much credit. The owners of Ogden Blue and Karen’s Cafe, for example, really get most of the credit for revitalizing lower 25th Street — between just those two privately and locally owned businesses they probably doubled traffic down there.

Other shop owners, such as Olde Salt Bikes, do their share as well, and these people are all there on their own nickel. The mayor didn’t induce them to set up shop, they set up shop based on their love and dedication for Ogden. Karen, at Karen’s Cafe, has never been a huge admirer of Mayor Godfrey, but she is a huge fan of Ogden.

Which is really what it’s all about.

Sure, many things have stalled — the river parkway development hit a wall when the recession hit, but I decline to blame Mayor Godfrey for the recession. Still, his continual pushing of the gondola thing is a distraction when he should be cleaning up projects already underway.

I especially liked the comment from one resident who noted that previous mayors didn’t get criticized like Godfrey has, “but they didn’t do anything either.”

I wouldn’t go that far — Glenn Mecham laid the groundwork for much of the devleopment we see today – but there’s no denying the pace picked up under Godfrey, and his emphasis on outdoor sports companies has had success.

So, credit where it’s due, with the usual caveats.

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10 Responses to Ogden and Godfrey make the Trib

  1. Cathy says:

    How well do you think those businesses will do once they get the wal-mart built? I really have to wonder about ogden city… first revitalizing downtown and attracting those nice shops… then bringing in a wal-mart to compete with them.

  2. Linda Welch says:

    Ditto on the Walmart thing. I have never figured out why they are putting in another one when the Walmart in North Ogden isn’t that far away. The people who will go to the new Walmart formerly went to either the one in North Ogden or the one in Riverdale, so those two stores will lose customers and sales.

  3. So, this is where S-E writers ruminate on what’s written in Utah’s other newspapers …

  4. Charles Trentelman says:

    hey, we’re not proud. We’ll bolviate on anything around here.

  5. Willbike says:

    So, this is where Neal Humphrey ruminates on the ruminations of S-E writers ruminating on what’s written in Utah’s other newspapers …

  6. dan s. says:

    Charlie, Charlie. You’ve succumbed to the Big Lie.

    “There’s no denying the pace picked up after Godfrey.” I challenge you to support this claim with any kind of objective evidence. Just ’cause Godfrey has been saying it for the last nine years doesn’t mean it’s true. And any prominent business owner who denies it will suffer the consequences under this vindictive administration.

    Remember, Godfrey has been in office over 9 years. During those 9 years we’ve seen some nice new developments and a lot of counted chickens that still haven’t hatched. But to support your claim, you must demonstrate that we saw fewer nice new developments during the previous 9 years. Have you already forgotten what happened in Ogden between 1990 and 1999? Here’s a partial list:

    * Ogden River Parkway
    * East Bench trail system
    * Egyptian Theater
    * Sundance Film Festival
    * Eccles Conference Center
    * Renovation of the Municipal Building
    * Rooster’s
    * Lots of other nice places on 25th Street
    * Lindquist Field
    * Business Depot Ogden
    * Intermodal Hub
    * WSC became WSU
    * The Ice Sheet
    * Big improvements to Newgate Mall

    As for the River Project, please recall that Godfrey started working on it 8 years ago. So you can’t blame its failure on a recession that began one year ago. More generally, if you’re not gonna blame Godfrey for bad things that happen during a recession, then it ain’t fair to give him credit for good things that happen in an economic boom.

    The Junction, you say? Why is the Earnshaw Building still unfinished and unoccupied two years after the promised completion date? Why are there “For Lease” signs up on almost every completed building? Why is there nothing but vacant ground where the Midtown and Ashton Square condos were supposed to be? Why are the Salomon Center bond payments sucking over $1 million a year from BDO? Why is the old Wells Fargo building, across the street, now completely abandoned?

    Finally, about those outdoor companies. Sure, they’re nice and I’m glad they’re here. But their importance to Ogden’s economy and quality of life have been vastly overblown. And if I had to point to one thing that brought them here it would be not Godfrey but the 2002 Olympics (and the associated expansion of Snowbasin). Godfrey had the good fortune to take office two years before the Olympics, but he doesn’t deserve an ounce of credit for bringing the Olympics to Ogden.

  7. Cathy says:

    test!!!

  8. Cathy says:

    another shrubbery!!!

  9. Bill C. says:

    The real thing Godfrey has accomplished during his tenure is the total demise of public trust. His dishonesty is even well acknowleged by his own supporters. I can’t think of one of his efforts that hasn’t had a deceitful clandestine cloud wrapped around it. Can You?

  10. Concrete Guy says:

    The reason the Earnshaw Building is not complete is because the developer is totally incompetent. Give me a break…3 years to build that and it’s still not done? Are you freaking kidding me? That is a 6 month project at the most.

    I wonder how many people got scammed on that one? Weren’t those condos supposed to be ALL bought? The same as the Ashton condos? (that hasn’t even broke ground yet….2 years after they “sold” them)

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