Business is rebounding in Ogden's historic 25th Street district, and shop owners are hopeful its image as an unsafe area will continue to fade.
"The older generation remembers 25th Street as rowdy and unsafe. It's not really rowdy anymore," said Judi Imlay, an antique shop owner and president of the 25th Street Association."We're really out to change the impression 25th Street is not a safe place to be. There's been a lot of changes in the past year, and the general public is not aware of it," she said.
The association's membership consists of about 35 of the 55 businesses on 25th and adjoining streets from Grant Avenue west to Union Station. Although no statistics are available, Imlay and others said more businesses are opening than are closing.
And just Thursday night, the city redevelopment agency agreed to sell the old London Ice Cream building to Rebecca Reis for $68,000. Reis, who is still seeking financing, plans to spend about $150,000 renovating the building for use as a gourmet coffee shop.
"That's exactly the direction we want the street to go with specialty shops," said Richard McConkie, the city business development director. "There is renewed interest in the street. It is picking up."
He said other possible developments include addition of a state courts building at the current bus station and more Amtrak stops at Union Station.
Already there are enough antique shops on the street to attract browsers, he said.
A key challenge will be to dispel the notion that shoppers and tourists must contend with drunks and criminals on the street, he said.