To say North Ogden is experiencing a growth spurt would be a vast understatement. This year so far, the city has passed out more building permits than in any other year – doubling that of 2007 – which until now was the biggest year of growth in North Ogden. Right now, there are 14 subdivisions under active construction with 500 lots currently in the building phase. There are over 1,000 other lots in the conditional use process.
The commercial growth is similarly making strides in the city with new developments along Washington Boulevard with Ace Hardware slated to open this fall, and a newly-renovated strip mall where the old Smith’s was. “The strip mall was old and tired (from the eighties) and there just needed to be some changes there, give it a little life,” North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor said.
There is also a new owner of the King’s building on Washington and 1800 North. Taylor knows people in the community will be happy to hear that soon things will be changing in the spot where the empty King’s has sat for over a decade. “We aren’t ready to announce what is going in, but change is imminent. The building ownership has officially changed,” Taylor said. The North Ogden Plaza, where the King’s is, has slowly been adding bustling businesses with the popular Pizza Pie Café, a hopping indoor soccer facility and the ever-popular Kurt’s Drive-Inn. Now more positive changes will be coming to give it the facelift people are seeking.
Moreover, plans are in the works to announce a major new convenience store coming to town. The official announcement with specifics will be out later this month. “Of course we see the Amazon effect like everyone else, so we are working to get businesses that aren’t effected by that. People can’t buy gas on Amazon,” Taylor mused. “We want to survive and thrive regardless of the Amazon effect,” he said.
The city council also agreed to move the detention basin from 2700 North just west of the Walgreen’s on Washington to an area on 2550 North a bit west from the aquatics center – around the Shooting Star Ranch area. They plan to make it a nice park area and pond for families to enjoy. With the 2700 North area freed up, more commercial space will be available and Taylor feels confident it will fill up rather quickly with commercial property.
“This will be a win-win-win for the city,” he said. There will be a nice new family area, more commercial growth which benefits residents and also creates a bigger tax base which will help both the city and its residents.
“The growth is bigger than we ever seen in the city…the housing is absolutely insane,” Taylor noted.
The city is happy to see the growth and they have plans in place to handle that growth. “Our city charges hefty impact fees so we can pay for infrastructure as the city grows,” Taylor explained. “We don’t want the growth concerns to be on the backs of current residents,” he added. One concern the city has with upcoming growth is water. Taylor said the city started to prepare six years ago when it started adding additional wells to the city. In that six years, three more wells have been drilled through the city. They aren’t being used yet, but will be ready when they are needed. Detention basins have slowly been added, as well as storm drain lines. “That is funded largely by impact fees,” Taylor said.
A large issue has been roads – expanding them, adding them and handling traffic flow. The next biggest road project is re-doing the corner of 2600 North and Washington Boulevard – a hugely busy intersection in the city. Plans are in place to expand that corner, but the city may have to purchase property to do that, which has proven to be challenging, but something it is moving forward to do.
Taylor and the city recently held a town hall to discuss what the expansion will entail. Currently, the expansion is planned to start as early as 2019. The city will purchase the Wells Fargo Bank Building and some of the property east of the building, which includes mostly yards of older homes. “It’s a massive $10.5 million project that will done in three main pieces,” Taylor described. He additionally noted the city’s efforts to make the process fair to all and the stress involved.
The city is also expanding parks. The city council recently approved a $3 million expansion of the amphitheater at Barker Park. “It would be more on the scale of the Ed Kenley Amphitheater,” Taylor noted. The amphitheater is presently a grass bowl with a small stage area and no assigned seating. To accomplish their complete expansion, the city is looking for major donors and RAMP funding to create the scale it wants and to draw both local and out-of-town performers to the area.
Taylor said he is extremely proud of the city council and staff for its ability to be forward-looking with the growth the city is facing. He feels confident things are going in the right direction. “If you plan for the future, growth can be a good thing.”