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Park City Says Arts and Culture District Partners have Roughly 18 Months to Commit to Construction

Park City Municipal
Parkcity.org website photo

Park City’s partners for the future arts and culture district at the corner of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard have about a year-and-a-half to pay for the sites of their future headquarters, say city staff.


The timeline, as it stands now, gives the Kimball Arts Center and the Sundance Institute roughly 18 months to pay the city for the land where the organizations plan to build their future headquarters.


Park City Councilmembers Tim Henney and Steve Joyce expressed their reluctance to go forward with the project without firm financial commitments from both organizations at the final council meetings of 2020 late last month.


Park City Deputy City Manager David Everitt says the timetable gives the city and its partners time to work through the funding issues.  


“We anticipate payment for the land and a transfer of the title of the parcels within the next year-and-a-half,” says Everitt. “We have a little bit of time to still work through that in terms of our cash flow scenario for construction.”


But the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown both organizations quite a curveball.


The Sundance Institute suspended a capital campaign to raise funds for the headquarters last summer and the upcoming film festival will take place largely online.


The Kimball Arts Center, among many other arts organizations that rely on events and other showings to survive, have struggled financially over the past nine months.


With both headquarters expected to cost in the millions of dollars, the investment is not one that is being taken lightly.


Everett says although the timetable is set at a year-and-a-half now, the city would be open to discussions with Kimball Arts and Sundance about a different schedule if the situation warrants it.


“I would say this would be the ideal schedule as we work through it in terms of our cash flow, but we’re absolutely willing to work with our partners and make sure what works for us works for them and vice-versa,” Everett says. “There may be ways to structure payments, there may be ways to have more cash up front , there’s different ways to go about it.”


The Sundance Institute’s Managing Director and CFO, Betsy Wallace, says the organization’s focus right now is on pulling off a successful film festival later this month. She says any money for the headquarters would come from outside sources, including anything from the institute’s founder, actor Robert Redford.    


“Well, I think that’s Mr. Redford’s money,” she says. “The headquarters that we have here would be through the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit, so we have a capital campaign that has been put on hold because of COVID, we were very forthright and transparent with the city about that. Our focus right now is to get through this festival and see how we do” 


Any official decision on the arts and culture district lies in the hands of the Park City City Council, who will hold their first meeting of 2021 on Thursday at 3pm. Details on how to participate virtually can be found here

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.