North Ogden PD building done, Walmart eyes West Haven as Weber County deals with growth

Mar 20, 2024, 11:48 AM

The old North Ogden Police Department and municipal court structure, partially demolished, sits adj...

The old North Ogden Police Department and municipal court structure, partially demolished, sits adjacent to the replacement building in the rear of the photo. (Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

(Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

NORTH OGDEN — It’s certainly not the biggest public works project ever, but the new North Ogden law enforcement center is as big as it gets in the northern Weber County city.

“That building will serve the city for the next 50 years,” said Mayor Neal Berube. The old police department building is coming down, giving way to the new $13.5 million or so structure just to the south, which has been occupied for about a week.

To the south in Harrisville, officials are considering their own once-in-a-generation project — a new city hall/police department/public works complex with an estimated price tag of $15 million. Further south in fast-growing West Haven, meantime, Walmart is considering its fifth Weber County location.

Maybe they aren’t jaw-dropping projects on the scale of a new arena to house professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams, focus of discussion in Salt Lake City. Even Ogden, Weber County’s largest city, has several larger-scale developments in the works.

Nevertheless, the smaller locales of Weber County, too, are experiencing growth in their own way, underscoring the growing pains faced by communities up and down the Wasatch Front.

The new 25,000-square-foot North Ogden Public Safety Building prompted plenty of debate when in the planning stages. At some $13.5 million — maybe a bit less, Berube said, as the final cost figures are still being calculated — it’s the biggest public works project ever in the city. It houses the North Ogden Police Department and the city’s municipal court, previously located in a now-demolished building to the north that dates to the early 1960s.

New tenants love new building

Work began in mid-2022 and city leaders tapped around $4 million in savings to help cover the cost, bonding for the rest. The new tenants, including the 20-plus North Ogden police force, “love it,” Berube said.

The city is now home to around 22,000 people and the mayor says the new structure is designed to serve the city’s police and municipal court needs until it’s built out. The city’s population, he estimates, is to reach 40,000 to 42,000 within the next 25 or so years. “This will probably handle it for a while,” he said.

In smaller Harrisville, home to around 7,000 people, city leaders last year broke ground on a new public works building on a 13-acre city-owned parcel between 750 West and U.S. 89. Design is now underway for separate city hall and police department structures to be built at the same site.

“We’re bursting at the seams,” said Mayor Michelle Tait, alluding to the existing city hall/police department structure at 363 W. Independence Blvd.

All told, the three new buildings are expected to cost around $15 million, making it the largest public works endeavor ever for the city. North View Fire District, which provides fire coverage in North Ogden, Pleasant View and Harrisville, is thinking of building a new firehouse at the location as well.

“It’s a major accomplishment for the city. We have never done anything like this before,” Tait said.

A new Walmart in West Haven?

In West Haven, meanwhile, the fastest-growing Weber County city and one of the fastest-growing locales in the state, Walmart is contemplating a new store on a parcel abutting the city of Roy. It would be the fifth Walmart location in the county. “West Haven desperately needs a grocery store. We don’t have one,” said Mayor Rob Vanderwood.

The retail giant has contemplated building a store and gas station on some 20 acres it owns off the west side of Midland Drive south of 4000 South dating to 2006. The moment, apparently, has finally arrived. West Haven Planning Commission officials first have to offer a recommendation on a proposed site plan, among other things, and then the West Haven City Council would have to take action. Planning commissioners tabled action on Feb. 28 to address some lingering issues, but Vanderwood suspects it’ll return to the body for consideration soon.

“We’re looking forward to it and hope it does come to fruition,” Vanderwood said.

Beyond that, he said the city is contemplating construction of a new community center to serve as a gathering space for the city, maybe near the existing city hall structure. Officials had debated the possibility of somehow trying to foster development of a downtown area, but the mayor said those discussions have fallen by the wayside.

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North Ogden PD building done, Walmart eyes West Haven as Weber County deals with growth