BY HAILEY MINTON
ONE NORTH OGDEN RESIDENT WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE COMMUNITY PULL TOGETHER TO HELP DEVELOP A LARGE LOT OF LAND PURCHASED IN 2002 BY THE CITY.
Blake Cevering invites the community to lend a hand to develop Barker Park. The land was purchased by the city in 2002 and the plan to develop the area into the park was going to cost around $10 to $12 million. The plan includes basketball courts, splash pads, boweries, playgrounds, community gardens, pickle ball courts, sand volleyball courts, a tree house structure, lacrosse field, concrete walking paths, a ropes course, sculpture gardens, an American Disabilities Act playground and more. It will require a lot of labor and money invested to make the plan happen. “The city has always wanted to get it done,” said Cevering, “but it is such a large investment of money.“ With so many other needs in the city, it was easy to let this project stay on the shelf. On the North Ogden City website, it says the development of the rest of the park will take place after the amphitheater is completed. Well North Ogden, we have arrived at that point so the park is ready for the next step! “Once completed, Barker Park will be one of the largest and best family parks in Northern Utah!” says the website.
The area that is designated for the park is north of the amphitheater and is currently leased for agriculture. Cevering’s goal is to get grass and sprinklers put in on the 38 acres of Barker Park land. Cevering took it upon himself as a private citizen (not as a council member) to create a foundation aimed at developing the park. He has pledged part of the commissions they bring in through his real estate business. “We are going to make a 10 percent contribution of our professional fees for each transaction.” Cevering said they also have plans to do fundraisers and they are encouraging residents to donate what they can. The foundation is a 501 (c)(3) so all contributions are tax deductible.
Cevering also hopes community members will volunteer time and effort to develop the park. The city could save a lot on labor costs if residents volunteer their time to lay sod or contribute in other ways. He has seen churches built and other parks developed in this way. “We have two churches in North Ogden that were built by the citizens who lived here at the time. It was a community effort.” One is the church on 2600 over toward Oaklawn, and the other is the church by North Ogden Junior High. He believes not only this can move things along with the park, but it can also be a great way to unify the community. “The mayor’s goal is “one North Ogden.” If we utilize the people in North Ogden, we can do it. I think it could be a real pull together opportunity. ”
He also hopes contractors and other business owners will consider contributing their services. He knows of a business that volunteered their time and resources to pour cement for a different park in the area. We have contractors in the area, and he thought it would be wonderful if someone was willing to donate and build a few boweries in the park or donate playground equipment.
“I have known the Barker family my entire life,” and Cevering hopes to honor them by making their former property an area the entire community can enjoy. “It just needs to be done.”
If you are interested in helping to improve Barker Park, reach out to Blake.