Just months after earning the prestigious designation as a Main Street community, the Ogden Downtown Alliance has been awarded a $30,000 to support downtown enhancements.
What started out as a national movement with Main Street America, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah) and the legislature saw a chance to bring it to a state level through the Utah Main Street Program (UMSP).
With approval both from Mayor Mike Caldwell and the Ogden City Council, Ogden Downtown Alliance agreed to be the representative for our city’s participation in UMSP. From there, the team wrote a grant application showcasing just what historic Ogden has to offer.
The Utah Main Street Program highlights communities looking to revitalize their unique downtowns, encourage and support local business, as well as work to preserve the culture and history of the area.
“Ogden is the poster child for downtown revitalization,” says Nan Anderson, Director of the Utah Main Street Program, “You all in Ogden have done amazing work in the realm of preservation.”
Kim Bowsher, Executive Director of Ogden Downtown Alliance, says the group already has plans for the funds, “Being awarded this $30,000, we will turn around and grant it to local businesses. It’s not going to our organization.”
The money is just an added benefit to joining the Utah Main Street Program, being a designation city means more opportunities for Ogden. To earn a Main Street designation, the Ogden Downtown Alliance had to show the City’s efforts to support new and existing businesses, plan and fund physical improvements, organize events and raise the profile of their downtown district.
“I’m super excited to have the community designation,” says Bowsher, “It puts us with more tools, better training and best practices of another caliber of community development.”
UMSP was only recently funded back in 2020, but with its ties to Main Street America it joins a network of 1,200 neighborhoods and communities working to preserve historic downtowns. “Ogden has access to a very select group of communities on the same revitalization journey. No one is in competition, we’re all supporting each other,” explained Anderson.
City leadership has already laid the groundwork to make revitalization holistic by including those from the private and public sectors, elected officials, local businesses, and the Ogden Downtown Alliance. “The fact that Ogden has had a dedicated non-profit focused on downtown revitalization is a huge step in the right direction,” says Anderson, “That is sustainable, with a plan, scope of work and revenue sources.”
Bowsher believes both the designation and the enhancement grant will help businesses wanting to thrive in Ogden. “We’ve had a facade improvement grant since 2000. We receive more requests than we can answer. This money will help with that.”