In 1999 Carl & Lorna and Ray & Fern Barker generously agreed to sell 60 acres of prime land at the corner of 2600 North and Fruitland Dr.—which could have easily been sold for subdivisions—to North Ogden City for a park. Visionary city leaders jumped at the opportunity and issued the second largest amount of bonds in city history to purchase the land. The city developed a small subdivision and “Barker Park,” which includes the beautiful bowl amphitheater which we use for fireworks on Independence Day.
The plan was to develop the remaining 35 acres into more park, and that the Amphitheater would be utilized for performance and cultural events. Unfortunately the funding for future phases of the park never materialized, and the remaining acres have been used for agriculture while the beautiful amphitheater has been under-utilized, hosting only a handful of events over the past 18 years.
In 2015 city leaders undertook a new effort to complete Barker Park. A committee of city leaders, citizens, and Barker family members worked to develop a complete plan for the entire park , including a splash pad, high adventure playground, pickle ball & volleyball courts, and a ropes course. The plan also includes historical features such as the relocation of a fruit packing barn from 2600 North, and historical monuments to military members, early settlers, and Native Americans.
The Committee recommended first expanding the Amphitheater and to significantly increase its usage after taxpayers invested so much to build it, and the City Council approved funds to begin this process. The vision for the Amphitheater is to host musicals, plays, symphonies, performing bands, etc., similar to the Ed Kenley Amphitheater in Layton. The North Ogden Amphitheater will be unique for its size and spectacular mountain views! Additionally, we would like to see the Amphitheater used as a beautiful venue for community events like dance recitals or musical performances.
Last year’s hugely-successful production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat showed the potential of this Amphitheater. Mark Daniels from Weber High who directed the play says: “In an age when most of our communication happens in front of a screen, I think that this gathering function of an amphitheater in North Ogden is, in and of itself, something that will be so exciting, beneficial and important to our community.”
We have selected Method Studio as the architect for the Amphitheater expansion after a very competitive bid process, and we are already working on design options with the hopes of beginning construction this Fall. Method Studio is a talented firm with extensive experience, including designing the Draper City Amphitheater and the Grand Junction, CO Amphitheater. The Amphitheater project will not use bonds and will be built in phases through a combination of city funds and grants. Earlier this year we successfully obtained the largest R.A.M.P grant in city history toward the Amphitheater project: $320,000. We thank Weber R.A.M.P for their generous support and will try for additional grants as well.
We will also be undertaking a major community fund raising process to help pay for the Amphitheater project and the larger Barker Park expansion. It will take the support of citizens and businesses throughout the city to turn this vision into a reality. There will also be many opportunities for businesses and citizens to provide donations of time and materials to help construct various elements of this project. Together we can create a community gem in the heart of North Ogden!
•Open House- We will be holding a special Open House event on Aug. 22nd at 6 PM in the Senior Center to present preliminary plans for the Amphitheater to the community and to gather feedback and input. Please join us and learn more about the project. You can also learn more about how you can be involved at: northogdencity.com
• Fundraisers- Funding for the expansion will take a city-wide effort with different opportunities to raise money and donate supplies. Stay tuned for more details.