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Summer Events, Public-Private Housing Partnerships on Park City Council's Agenda This Week

Thursday night’s Park City City Council meeting will cover a variety of issues, from the 2021 special events schedule to adjustments to the city budget.


It has been nearly an entire year since Summit County went into lockdown and many of Park City’s most iconic events like the annual Fourth of July parade fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.


On Thursday, the city council will get its first look at what events might look like this summer from city staff.


City Manager Matt Dias told KPCW that the planning of city-sponsored events takes months to complete in a normal year, so staff and council wanted to get as far ahead of the curve as possible this summer with additional health regulations still in place.


“I think the expectation is that there’s some optimism on the horizon,” Dias said. “We’ve been working very closely with the health department and they’ve been looking very favorably at, perhaps later this summer, we will be able to reinvigorate the special events aspect of our community and do so safely. We need to start planning for that now, believe it or not, when we’re talking about hiring and law enforcement and setup and breakdown.”


According to a tentative calendar released by the city, events are scheduled to ramp up in June with the Park City Farmers Market, concert series, and several sports tournaments kicking off before the Fourth of July.


The city council will also be taking another look at the city’s budget for fiscal year 2021. Dias said the proposed adjustments are not related to recent sales tax numbers, which have outperformed expectations in recent months, but are to address a request for a new fleet of golf carts for the municipal golf course. A record breaking season in 2020 accelerated the cart fleet’s replacement schedule.


With stronger than expected sales tax reports in November and December, Dias said he and his staff are hopeful for that trend to continue. The inevitable hit caused by no in-person visitors during the Sundance Film Festival in January is something Dias said he will be keeping a close eye on as those numbers are released by the state tax commission in the coming weeks.


“December was down a little, about 10 percent,” said Dias. “We consider that good fortune and with the optimism and vaccinations on the horizon and people’s confidence gaining in travel, our hope is that the rest of the winter is even stronger, but, clearly, that week or week and a half around Sundance is the unknown. We should have that information in about two and a half to three weeks.”


Also of note on the agenda is a discussion about exploring the prospect of public-private partnerships as a way to more cost-effectively build affordable housing into city projects. Housing costs at the future arts and culture district have only increased in the last year and Dias said these partnerships could be an essential part of solving the city’s housing dilemma.


“The third piece that we’ve been focusing on more lately is public-private partnerships,” he said. “We think there is a great opportunity to tap in to the expertise of the private sector, repurpose municipal land that’s either underutilized or not used and potentially have a private developer construct, build, and deliver housing on municipal land.” 


A task force made up of Dias, other city staff, councilors Nann Worel and Max Doilney, and Mayor Andy Beerman met last month with local developers and will present the findings of that meeting on Thursday.


Thursday’s city council meeting begins at 5:15pm, details on how to participate in the virtual meeting 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.