Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to endorse river restoration project
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will visit the city of Ogden on Friday, Dec. 7, to speak in support of a major new project that will clean up the Ogden River. The renowned environmentalist is backing a proposal by the Ogden Riverfront Development Company (ORDC) to create a thriving new community next to the neglected waterway, and to help restore the river to its natural splendor. Kennedy will be a keynote speaker at ORDC's River Restoration Celebration Day, hosted by the Ogden Community Foundation...
OGDEN, UT, Dec. 4, 2007 -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will visit the historic city of Ogden on Friday, Dec. 7, to speak in support of a major new project that will clean up the Ogden River. The renowned environmentalist is backing a proposal by the Ogden Riverfront Development Company (ORDC) to create a thriving new community next to the neglected waterway, and to help restore the river to its natural splendor.
Kennedy will be a keynote speaker at ORDC's River Restoration Celebration Day, when he and local residents will be able see first hand the challenge facing the clean-up team. The event is hosted by the Ogden Community Foundation, representing both residents and the business community.
River engineer Jason Carrey, retained by ORDC to plan the waterway restoration effort, will lead a tour of the site and nearby riverbanks, now badly degraded by junkyards and industrial waste.
Gadi Leshem, one of the principals of ORDC, is confident that the project will bring both environmental and financial benefits to the city of Ogden. "This is a community with a magnificent natural setting that makes it a magnet for those who love outdoor recreation year-round. Residents and the vibrant local business community recognize that sensible growth requires an appreciation for the city's ecology and its historic fabric."
Leshem said that same sensitivity is shaping ORDC's plans which aim to create a vibrant commercial center with shops, restaurants offices and residential units. The development, to be called Ogden Renaissance Village, is still in the early conceptual stage. When completed it would transform the downtown area of the city while helping to fund much-needed environmental work on the river.
ORDC will initiate the clean up of the development site and of the riverbanks under its control. It is also funding environmental studies which it is providing to state and federal agencies that will oversee restoration of the river.
These agencies must carefully review and approve any work planned for the river itself before clean up can begin. That evaluation is expected to take many months, Leshem said.
"Our hope is that these agencies will see the importance of this restoration and expand the clean-up to include the entire length of the Ogden River," he said.
A century ago Ogden was the second-largest city in Utah, largely because of its status as a hub for the transcontinental railways and as a manufacturing center. But as the role of the railroad diminished and companies relocated, Ogden fell into decline. A notable turning point in its revival was the Utah Winter Olympics of 2002, when tens of thousands of visitors attended events held in Ogden. Since then the city has enjoyed a renaissance as a center for skiing and other outdoor sports.
A number of major national and international ski and sports goods manufacturers have relocated to the area in recent years, including Amer Sport (Salomon, Suunto and Atomic brands), Scott USA, Descente North America, Goode Ski Technologies, Kahuna Creations, Snowsports Interactive and Nidecker Snowboards. Ogden was cited by Forbes magazine this year as one of the best places in the nation to do business.
To meet the city's growing residential and commercial needs, ORDC is overseeing three individual projects near the Ogden River:
• The Riverwalk: A Tuscan-style, open-air business district, this development will feature beautiful landscaping as well as quality restaurants and shops.
• The Riverfront Community: The total redesign of this neighborhood will change the face of the Ogden River and its parkway, creating residential units and commercial space.
• An 11-acre parcel across the street from the Riverwalk, planned for mixed-use commercial and residential development.
The Ogden Riverfront Development Company is a real estate development firm specializing in municipal planning and urban development. The company is currently involved in projects in downtown Ogden, with the emphasis on building communities around the river.