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"Kamas 2020" Group Has A Vision And A Mission


While Park City and Heber are busy with Visioning efforts, a group of volunteers in Kamas are also working on a program that aims to maintain the character of their town.   

The program, called “Kamas 2020”, includes about 150 volunteers who want Kamas to stay Kamas, and to stay rural, as long as possible, according to Chris McLaws, one of the organizers.       

“It’s to keep it, to preserve it, as much as possible.   We know that development is coming because a lot of the old-time locals are retiring and selling land.   But everyone I know and everyone that they’ve surveyed has said that they don’t want it to become a big city, or to become over-developed.”

She said their program got a grant and planning guidance from a group called “RUDAT”, or the “Rural-Urban Design Assistance Team”.   It’s a collection of architects and professionals that helps small towns around the country.

McLaws said the volunteers are broken up into six teams.   She  heads up the team dealing with historic sites and preservation.       

“But we have a team for murals and art, and gathering places.  We’re planning to have a farmer’s market on Friday evenings right next to the City Hall.  We have business-development facades and signage, so that we can control some of what those show up as.  We have Welcome signs and trails, beautification, street lights and planters, events and community branding, and celebrations.”

McLaws lived in the Park City area before moving to Kamas about three years ago.   She now lives in a house that dates back to 1897.

Her team will be watching out for other historic buildings in town.    They recently became aware when a building known as the Wagstaff Barn, over 100 years old, located off Highway 248 at the entry to town, was demolished.

She said she contacted the owner just last Thursday.    McLaws said legally the owner had every right to tear down the barn, and practically, the structure was aging.     

“They said that they tore it down because it was somewhat dilapidated and not safe, and they had vagrants, some people staying in the home next to it.  And so they saved the key components of the barn, and they’re going to rebuild it to look the same.  They’ve had architects and photographs.   And they’re going to use it as a community gathering place.  So in my mind, since it’s already down, that’s really good news.”

Chris McLaws, who said they hope to work out a planning process to preserve Kamas’ historic buildings.

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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