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Woodward Park City Breaks Ground On Sports Complex

A large, boisterous crowd gathered at the base of Parley's Summit, Thursday afternoon to celebrate the ground-breaking for the Woodward Park City youth sports complex. 

The audience partied under sunny, but windy conditions on the property, which has been the Gorgoza tubing park for decades. The promotional announcement said that Woodward will connect "sport, progression, community, vibe and youth-inspiring programming."

Woodward is owned by the Powdr. Corp. The founder and chairman of the company, John Cumming, said they acquired the Gorgoza site back in the late 1990's.

“In about 1997 we bought Gorgoza with the idea that it could be a tubing hill and maybe something else that’s really cool. I wasn’t really sure exactly what that meant at the time, but I knew there was some opportunity. I like the tubing business but I kind of was thinking that maybe there might be some sort of way to teach beginner skiers or integrate action sports. I saw the way things were changing on the mountain I felt like it was making ski resorts better and enhancing experiences for young people to do terrain features and whatnot, but I didn’t think it was perfectly executed.”

Cumming said for various reasons, they didn't have a clear idea of what they wanted to do with the Gorgoza site, until the early part of this decade.

“In 2011 we acquired Woodward and the rest of the vision became clear to me. This is a place that kids and families can come and express themselves in their own individual way. They can progress their skills safely in a self-directed but supervised way. They can learn skills, post them, create their own brands. It just sort of is an extension of everything that I see the youth culture and sport provides to folks in this day and age. Again, we can do it safely. It’s not just a giant terrain park at a ski resort with skull and crossbones at the entry.”

The principal planner for the project, Michael Barille, and Shaydar Edelmann, General Manager for Woodward Park City, said they plan to open the project in November of next year. They hope to get concrete in the ground before this winter, and then put up the steel structure and an enclosure for the fieldhouse during the cold months.

A rectangular hole has already been carved into the site. Barille said that is just a third of the footprint for the fieldhouse.

“This hole that we have dug so far will be the indoor skatepark portion of the building. We have about two more segments of similar size with the middle one being gymnastics floor, parkour trampoline area. The third one down being ramps, foam pits, learn to skate, ski, snowboard in those part of the action sports. So, three equally divided rectangles.”

It's taken seven or eight years for Woodward to secure an OK from the county. We asked Barille, himself a former county planning director, about his impression of the process.

“Regardless of which side of the table you’re on, big ambitious projects have their roller coaster ride, but the process usually comes out making them better regardless of which side of the table your on. That’s how we feel here too. We arrived at the right footprint and the right mix of activities and the right controls to make it a good part of the community and like I said a great operator to help us carry that out.”

Edelmann said that when it's up and running, the youth visiting Woodward will have a wide variety of options.

“There’s going to be so many options from half-day sessions, full-day sessions, week-long sessions. Seasonal, annual membership programs, corporate events, summer camps. Whatever sport you like skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, biking, cheerleading, gymnastics. I’m sure we’ll have corporate events and some competition events down the road. We’re really looking at that daily participation and daily enjoyment to get as many kids to enjoy themselves through this amazing facility as possible.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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