It’s an interesting view from the shoreline trail in the Wasatch mountains looking down onto the bustling city of Ogden.
As an avid cycler, I am impressed by the mix of past and present as the city evolves. It’s a community-driven over generations by the same force of determination and ingenuity.
Being tucked right up against our beautiful Wasatch Mountains, Ogden has been nationally recognized for its unique “Mountain-to-Metro” livability. Ogden, in many minds, has gone from trains to trails. How we address the coming growth in our city to encourage continued quality of life and opportunity is forefront in our minds.
Historically a bustling center of commerce built around the railroad, Ogden has once again emerged as an engine of growth and development. Civic and community leaders have made a focused, collaborative effort to revitalize Ogden over the last two decades. Residents and visitors alike once again enjoy Ogden’s vibrant downtown and unparalleled access to outdoor recreation. This transformation has been nationally recognized with coverage by outlets such as Newsweek, CNBC, Forbes, and Powder Magazine. Ogden City is now looking to the future, with a proactive approach that will support future growth, employment, housing, and the overall quality of our community.
Ogden now generates more GDP than any city north of Salt Lake City. Business recruitment and expansion efforts, undertaken in conjunction with targeted redevelopment projects, have driven much of Ogden’s recent economic growth. Location and expansion of businesses from industries including aerospace and advanced manufacturing, life sciences, outdoor products and tech have created more than 4,300 jobs over the past four years. Over the same period of time, property values increased by $1.5 billion and Ogden’s GDP grew by 20%.
Ogden City has also focused on increasing housing quality and choice. There are now more than 1,100 housing units in downtown multi-family developments. Approximately 30% of these units are mixed-income or subsidized housing, while the remainder are market-rate. Planning and zoning changes have supported housing growth. For example, density limits based on acreage have been eliminated in downtown, parking requirements have been reduced from 2 to 1.5 stalls per unit, and accessory dwelling units are now a use by right. Redevelopment projects have also been essential to the development of new, high-quality housing in Ogden.
As a historic city, Ogden faces unique challenges regarding infrastructure. We have some of the oldest pipes, drains, and roads in the entire state of Utah. The City has risen to the challenge by master planning for water, sewer, storm drain, transportation, and bicycle infrastructure, and investing hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure improvements. Our residents have asked for that local investment and we are trying to meet their needs with our limited resources.
Additionally, Ogden City is once again a hub for trains with our Frontrunner stop but we have 21st century transit and active infrastructure. For example, the City has collaborated closely with UTA on a proposed Bus Rapid Transit line that will connect downtown to Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital. The City has also constructed the Grant Avenue Promenade, which provides protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks in the heart of downtown. These projects and others are contributing to Ogden’s accessibility and quality of life.
Ogden has been recognized as the most egalitarian zip code in America (Newsweek), the 8th best place for business and careers (Forbes), and home to 25th Street, one of America’s Great Places (American Planning Association). As Ogden and the Wasatch Front continue to grow, Ogden City is committed to developing our community as a place where people choose to live, work, and play.
Whether it is my hometown of Ogden or any of the other 248 cities and towns in Utah, cities are the government closest to the people. Cities work efficiently to respect those citizens whose voices we hear every other week at our city council meetings and each day in our neighborhoods. Residents trust city leaders more than any other level of government to plan for the future. We live here and we want our children to live here to one day cherish the same perspective they may find on a mountain trail, in a thriving business, and in their homes. When cities work with residents to help prepare for growth and sustain livability, we all win.