Letter: Looking in at my hometown Ogden from afar | News, Sports, Jobs

Recent Standard-Examiner articles on “elimination of free parking” in downtown Ogden have my thoughts wondering where Mayor Caldwell’s negative ideas originated!

My hometown is a wonderful place. Over the years, Ogden has had to reinvent itself. From my youth (born in 1938) a rail switching center, with a strong industrial base, vibrant, friendly and a Utah economic powerhouse with its stockyards, meatpacking plants, canneries, grain mills, a vibrant business district downtown, and military bases; Ogden was a wonderful place to live.

When business strategies of all the businesses shifted and closed down in the ’70s, the retail businesses left town, the clothing manufacturers, Utah Knitting closed, Ogden had to reinvent itself! The world supply chain of consumer needed manufactured items shifted to Asia and elsewhere.

The city father’s economic plan at the time gutted the city center, and thus the “Ogden City Mall” emerged and lasted for about 20-plus strong years. A beautiful place!

The linchpins of the mall Weinstock’s, ZCMI, JC Penney’s, and The Bon Marche all disappeared brought about by crime in the mall and again shift in economic business decisions at the time which also was affected by severe economic downturns in the US economy.

Today, the Junction has replaced the mall but never in the vibrance of the mall. Other downtown competition arose — the Newgate Mall and presently Davis County’s Station Park have limited the Junction’s true economic strength and full success.

Now the mayor and the council have thoughts to further limit business success in “all areas” of the city downtown core with the return of parking meters! This idea if brought to fruition will erode the city core again. The mayor and the council need to think of the negative impact of this idea will have on the continued revitalization of Ogden’s central core. The outside city core competitors all have “free parking.” I challenge the mayor and the city council to think “outside the bun” and find other ways to create the needed revenue and not penalize the downtown small businesses and prevent potential customers from doing business in Ogden’s central business core! Ogden has reinvented itself too many times.

William Lythgoe



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