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Keys to development: City centers, education and entrepreneurship

Friday, September 26, 2014

Article by Deseret News

The fortunes of this city have historically risen and fallen with the railroads. That's one reason why Union Station is a natural place to start — but not to end — a story of economic development on an Odgen re-invention tour.

After the literal joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads in 1869, Union Station and historic 25th Street flowing eastward became the locus from which this city grew. So important were the railroads that the Chamber of Commerce adopted the motto, "You can't get anywhere without coming to Ogden."

Today, you can’t even get national railroad service to Ogden. Union Station is now a museum. As travel shifted to the interstate highway system in the middle decades of the century, the city's industry began to decline, says Brandon Cooper, the city’s deputy director for community and economic development, and downtown fell on hard times.

Now, as Cooper leads a bus tour of local government officials from the Utah League of Cities and Towns, he recounts redevelopment efforts of the past several decades. These efforts have culminated in the 12 years' worth of work to make the city's downtown a more pleasant place to live, work, shop and learn.

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