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Ogden deliberates adding makerspace

Weber State University Research Foundation’s Oct.27 board meeting included a presentation from Ogden City officials on a proposed “makerspace.”

Makerspaces are community resource centers for manufacturing and developing ideas, providing the tools and advisement that would be otherwise unavailable to individuals.

Pitched as crucial to the city’s “maker city concept,” the development would become a hub for community members to enhance their experience and skill sets in a non-traditional environment.

Brandon Cooper, deputy director of Ogden City Community and Economic Development office gave logistical details and an overview of the concept for “The Market,” the building that would house the makerspace.

The makerspace proposed for Ogden will have 12 interconnected shops, including 3D printing, welding, textiles, fabrication, wood working, digital media and electronics.

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The designs for the renovated building also include studio spaces for artists and a coffee shop.

Ogden City CAO Mark Johnson sees the makerspace as an opportunity to redefine the city as the hardware center of the silicon slopes, a complement to the software industry of Salt Lake and Utah counties.

Johnson wants Ogden to “augment the software side south of us with manufacturing side in Weber County.”

The city has asked the WSURF to commit $500,000 to the project. The total capital investment estimate to move forward with the proposal is $3.8 million.

Other investors, such as Ogden Weber Applied Technology College and Weber and Davis school districts, will provide introductory level equipment for training and use in the facility. Startup Ogden and the Ogden City Economic Development Commission will provide $2.5 million of the funding.

The location is in line with the city’s overall vision of an art-centered revitalization of the downtown area, including new apartment complexes and arts-driven events.

Access to the makerspace will be available through monthly membership fees based on time and usage. Additional fees cover training and certification on machines and equipment.

Educators and staffing for the makerspace is expected to come from a partner group composed of donors and community members.

The building selected to house the makerspace is 445 25th Street, at the corner of Historic 25th Street and Ogden Ave.

The board expects the makerspace to officially launch in December 2018.

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