OGDEN -- A massive project to restore the Ogden River is finished after more than two years of work.
Ogden City recently wrapped up the last construction element of the Ogden River Restoration project by finishing the pavement on the Ogden River Parkway Trail from Stephens Bridge, west of Wall Avenue, to Gibson Bridge near Walmart.
The city secured close to $6 million from a variety of public and private sources to clean up the river, a project that has been part of community master plans for more than 20 years.
As part of the project, city crews removed nearly 13,000 tons of concrete, glass, rusted shopping carts, auto parts, almost 2,500 tires, seven full cars and other trash from the river.
Amid all the trash, crews recovered and restored a tea set from the 1890s.
Work was also performed to build interior flood planes, stabilize the river's banks, improve water flow and offer 25 new pedestrian access points.
Several types of vegetation were planted to buffer pollution sources, reduce channel temperatures and provide aquatic food sources.
Jay Lowder, the city's public services director, said the city still has to plant some additional vegetation, but that work should be finished by the end of the month and it won't impact use of the river or the trail.
"It's ready for people to enjoy," Lowder said. "This was a big undertaking, but it was something that really needed to be done."
City Engineer Justin Anderson said that after years of misuse, the river is closer to its natural state than it has been in years.
"We tried to get it as close to its natural state as possible," he said. "The river does run through the middle of a city and it's surrounded by development, but we've made some huge improvements to bring it back to where it needs to be."
Anderson also said the waterway restoration effort should help the Ogden River Project, a mixed use development scheduled to encompass 60 acres straddling the river from 18th Street to 20th Street and Washington Boulevard to Wall Avenue.
Ogden resident Felicia Hernandez walked the river parkway trail near Slackwater Pizza and Pub on Friday and said she enjoyed what the city has done.
"It's nice to have something like this in our town," she said. "The people of Ogden deserve to have a nice river and something we can use and take pride in."