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Park City Council may extend Park Silly Sunday Market contract one more year

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Historic Park City Alliance
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There are mixed feelings about the future of Park Silly Sunday Market, which takes over Main Street 14 days every summer.

An extension for a year would provide time for the city and organizers to craft a longer term contract that would start in 2024.

The Park City Council talked about the future of the Park Silly Sunday Market Thursday. The council expressed support for the event, but said major changes may be necessary.

A majority of the council said they could get behind extending the market’s current contract by one year, but next summer it would only be held 11 Sundays instead of the usual 14.

An extension for a year would provide time for the city and organizers to craft a longer term contract that would start in 2024.

Councilmembers were clear that a future contract may look very different. That could mean a new location, different hours or day of the week, or less frequency.

That’s because many businesses on Main Street, where Park Silly takes place, oppose the market because they say it hurts business by driving customers away from brick-and-mortar stores.

Councilmember Tana Toly owns and operates Red Banjo Pizza on Main, and told KPCW she determines that by comparing revenue in months the market doesn’t take place.

A survey of Historic Park City Alliance (HPCA) members, which includes Old Town business owners, showed the majority have had enough of Park Silly.

Councilmember Becca Gerber called that survey the most definitive information she’s seen on the subject. But she added that it was hard to balance that with the fact that most residents want the market to continue as is, according to a city survey.

Councilmember Ryan Dickey called it one of the toughest decisions in his tenure so far.

Dickey said if the history and context of the event was removed, and the council looked solely at sentiment in the community, "I don’t think that’s an event that we’d ever consider approving.”

Parkite Graham Reynolds started his own business selling jewelry at the market more than 10 years ago. Reynolds said that ignited a spark in him that has since led to a successful career in design, working with companies like Michael Kors and Crate and Barrel.

"That was really my first step into the design world," Reynolds said.

"Over the years continued to develop into more techniques and grow into more professional jewelry. For us, it was the perfect space to be able to showcase our work and grow as entrepreneurs, but also as designers and artists.”

Several other vendors spoke highly of the event, and said it was a massive economic benefit for them.

The council didn’t take action Thursday night.

The council will revisit the subject in December and expects to hear a more nuanced proposal from market organizers that addresses concerns.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.