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Park City Council approves contract to study previous arts and culture district land - again

Park City Municipal Corporation
A rendering of the previous concept for the arts and culture district, at the intersection of Kearns and Bonanza.

On Thursday the Park City Council unanimously approved a $389,000 contract that will launch a study of how to use the city-owned land at the intersection of Kearns Blvd. and Bonanza Dr.

The city-owned parcel was previously envisioned as an arts and culture district that contained housing and transit elements along with event and retail space.

After initial estimates pegged the project at around $45 million, ballooning construction costs during the pandemic saw projections up to $100 million, not counting the $19.5 million the city paid for the land in 2017.

Plans were eventually scaled back to around $65 million last summer, but the project was shelved as some questioned the expense.

The main question the city is now looking to answer in the first months of the new study is: does the community still want an arts and culture district?

If the answer is yes, the Kimball Arts Center and the Sundance Institute are seen as the potential main tenants, as was the case with the previous concept.

The study will include community open houses and surveys.

The contract for the study, with planning firm MKSK, also includes looking at a small area plan for the Bonanza/Snow Creek neighborhood. That includes the Snow Creek Plaza and the area between SR-224, SR-248, and Bonanza Dr. The plan would serve as a guide for future land use decisions there.

At the beginning of the Park City Council retreat Thursday, several residents spoke in support of building a district centered around the arts at the property, which currently sits empty.

At a city council meeting last month, Aldy Milliken, executive director of the nonprofit Kimball Arts Center, said the art center’s current home along Homestake Road is a short-term solution.

“Our building is not designed for 2,000-degree kilns, welding, printmaking and all the other programs we provide,” Milliken said.

“Our exhibition spaces need to be quality enough for a town such as ours, and they are currently not up to standard.”

The arts center moved to that location in 2015 after selling its former Old Town property at Main Street and Heber Ave.

The city has opened applications to the public for two advisory boards that will help with planning efforts. One is focused on the previous version of the arts and culture district zone, while the other will tackle the greater Bonanza Park/Snow Creek neighborhood plan.

The deadline to apply is March 10. People can apply here.