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Community Driven Discussion Around Arts and Culture Considers Pressing Questions

Engage Park City

Members of the community group Future Park City hosted a virtual arts and culture district discussion and Q&A with city staff Tuesday night.


The Facebook group Future Park City has become well-known in the community for impassioned posts and discussions on a range of issues from school board policies to the latest happenings at city hall.


Over the past several months, the group has been especially vocal on two issues in particular: the proposed Park City arts and culture district and toxic soils site along SR 248.


On Tuesday night, group founders and administrators Angela Moschetta and Sarah Berry hosted a virtual community discussion all about the proposed arts district alongside city staff.


Moschetta says despite the group’s reputation as an outspoken community forum, she and Berry largely think the concept of an arts and culture district is a worthwhile endeavor, but are searching for more clarification and transparency on a number of key aspects of the project.  


“Sometimes, in asking questions and posing challenge, I think that people assume that Sarah or myself or Future Park City are anti-arts district or anti-a soils repository,” says Moschetta. “Contrary to that assumption, we very much value arts and culture and would love to see, whether it’s a neighborhood or city-wide programming, but find a way to meaningfully and consistently integrate arts and culture into Park City. So we are certainly not anti-development of the district, perhaps just not sold on what we consider to be incomplete plans at this point.”   


Namely, Moschetta wants to know how far down the road the city is on their planning and how much wiggle room there is for changing those plans as discussions continue.


Deputy City Manager David Everitt has served as the spokesperson for the project over the past year and was the city’s representative on Tuesday night.


He said despite all the meetings on the project over the past year, the city still considers itself to be at the “end of the beginning” of the project. 


Everitt explained the early months of planning were not restricted by a set budget and said the council was not very receptive to the all-in price tag for the project of roughly $108 million.  


“I think that, in large part, reflects the fact that when the city and the partners started this project, I don’t think it was budget driven, right?” He said. “I think it was really initially driven by what do we want to see here as a community? What do the partners want to see here? We had, in a way, backed into an initial budget number based on that which was a lot of money; it was a big number.”


He added the council now seems to be moving towards a budget that aligns more with initial estimates for the project from last year, which pegged the final price more in the ballpark of $70 million.


City council has taken no votes on the details of the project apart from approving demolition and prep for the site in March.


Other questions asked on Tuesday night included what final design, affordable housing, and transportation plans would look like, what construction timetables would be, and what the status is of the city’s two partners in the project, the Sundance Institute and Kimball Arts Center. Everitt said those details are still being worked out, with the COVID-19 pandemic throwing a serious wrench into the negotiations with Sundance and Kimball.


Moschetta says Tuesday’s discussion was ultimately a constructive one and urged the public to participate in future council meetings and community discussions on the topic to make sure they are part of the decision making process for the details still under consideration.


“I felt like we got into some substantive discussion and I don’t know that it’s about getting the answers that we were looking for, so much as just getting answers,” she says. “It is clear that a number of the answers that we are looking for are not yet determined.”


The full discussion on the arts and culture district project can be found on the Future Park City Facebook page and city council is expected to revisit the arts and culture district project later this month.

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.