Recent Standard-Examiner articles on “elimination of free parking” in downtown Ogden have me wondering where Mayor Caldwell’s negative ideas came from!
My hometown is a wonderful place. Over the years, Ogden has had to reinvent itself. Since my youth (born in 1938), a railroad switching center, with a strong, vibrant, friendly industrial base and an economic powerhouse of Utah with its stockyards, meatpacking plants, canneries, mills in cereals, a dynamic business district in the city center and its military bases; Ogden was a wonderful place to live.
When the business strategies of all businesses changed and closed in the 70’s, retail businesses left town, clothing manufacturers, Utah Knitting closed, Ogden had to reinvent itself! The global supply chain of manufactured items needed by consumers has shifted to Asia and elsewhere.
The city father’s economic plan at the time gutted the downtown area, and so the “Ogden City Mall” emerged and lasted for about 20+ years. A nice place!
Mall stalwarts Weinstock’s, ZCMI, JC Penney’s and The Bon Marche all disappeared due to crime in the mall and again a change in economic business decisions at the time, which was also affected by severe economic downturns in the US economy.
Today, the junction has replaced the mall but never in the dynamism of the mall. Other downtown competitors emerged – the Newgate Mall and presently Davis County Station Park limited the junction’s true economic strength and success.
Now the mayor and council have ideas to further limit the success of businesses in “all areas” of the city center with the return of parking meters! This idea, if it comes to fruition, will again erode the downtown area. The Mayor and Council need to consider the negative impact this idea will have on the continued revitalization of Ogden’s central core. Competitors outside the city center all have “free parking”. I challenge the Mayor and City Council to think ‘outside the bun’ and find other ways to create needed revenue and not penalize small businesses downtown and prevent potential customers from do business in the central business hub of Ogden! Ogden has reinvented itself too often.