Politics in Ogden can get heated at times. Sometimes it's good to have sharp differences of opinion. Other times it enables both sides of an argument to accomplish nothing. However, we are pleased to see a potentially divisive issue -- declaring a four-block area in the east-central part of Ogden as blighted -- pass by a solid 5-2 city council vote.
The Ogden City Council, in its capacity as the redevelopment agency board, gave the OK to set the area between 20th and 24th Streets between Washington Boulevard and Adams Avenue as an urban renewal area. That makes that part of Ogden eligible to receive tax increment financing.
The city leadership, as well as a Salt Lake City company, Bonneville Research, which conducted a study for the city, believes that the blight designation helps with a future urban renewal plan.
Five city council members -- Bart Blair, Brandon Stephenson, Doug Stephens, Neil Garner and Caitlin Gouchnour -- agreed, voting for the blight designation. Council members Susie Van Hooser and Amy Wicks voted no.
The council's majority is correct on this vote. As mentioned, we are pleased to see a 5-2 margin, which indicates a strong consensus to further economic growth in Junction City. Having said that, the Ogden city administration needs to deliver on its promise to revitalize the area. There needs to be pressure on the administration to deliver economic regrowth, particularly since the development may be close to a future trolley transit route.
Some business owners in the area expressed discomfort with the term blight, but that term is not directed at any particular business. The blight designation can actually help lead the area to new development. No property in the blight area is slated to be acquired via eminent domain and the new projects that occur in the blight area will hopefully lead to extra property tax revenue. Attaining that tax revenue is the responsibility of the city and private businesses. Now that the city council has come through with its vote, the promise of economic growth needs to be fulfilled.