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WSU-to-Snowbasin Gondola Proposal Not Dead Yet

By , | Posted - Nov 8th, 2004 @ 7:31am

OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Some members had reservations but the City Council has gone along with Mayor Matthew Godfrey's request to seek outside funding to study the feasibility of extending a gondola system from Weber State University to Snowbasin ski resort.

The city already is studying a possible tram from downtown to Weber State.

"The whole administrative staff believes it has huge possibilities and will take Ogden to the next level," Godfrey said last week. "If we connect ourselves to Snowbasin, we become the bottom of the lift."

Councilman Kent Jorgenson, said, "Historically, Snowbasin has not been keen on the tram idea, and the Sierra Club has also been opposed. If Daddy Warbucks comes along to fund it, can we go it alone?"

Jorgenson said he would prefer to have Snowbasin express interest in the project before the city puts any money into the study.

Council Chairman Rick Safsten had concerns about the number of unfinished projects the city already has under way. "Why add another?" he asked.

Councilman Fasi Filiaga wondered where the city would find funds to pay for another study.

"What I hear from people in the community is that we let the mayor and administration add another project when so many are still undone," Filiaga said.

Councilman Jesse Garcia wondered how Godfrey could justify the gondola study to his constituents, who were hit hard this year by cuts in funding to Union Station and recent efforts to reduce the budget at the Marshall White Community Center.

"We have to prime the pump," Godfrey said. "This is sowing seed for five to six years in the future. Should we not buy seed?"

Councilwoman Amy Wicks opposed spending taxpayer dollars on the study, as did Garcia and Filiaga. Godfrey said he hoped to find private funding to move ahead with it.

Councilwoman Donna Burdett believed the gondola project could be very important to Ogden.

Councilman Brandon Stephenson also voiced enthusiasm.

"If it will be the boon the mayor says, I'll spend $100,000 right now," Stephenson said.

If outside funding cannot be found, Godfrey will return to the council to request financial support.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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