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Park City Council to review Kimball Arts Festival contract, soil contaminants

The Kimball Arts Festival started in 1969.

Discussions about the future of the Kimball Arts Festival and how to best manage mining era contaminated soils make up a lengthy agenda for the Park City Council’s meeting Thursday.

The council will give feedback on a proposed five-year extension for the Kimball Arts Festival on Main Street.

The current agreement for the three-day festival, which takes place in early August, is set to expire after this year.

The nonprofit Kimball Arts Center, which puts on the event, is requesting the city continue to waive $180,000 in service fees, similar to years past. The Kimball would pay the city $10,000 annually under the proposed contract.

A letter to the council from executive director Aldy Milliken and festival director Hillary Gilson says any reduction in fee waivers would harm the event’s operations and impact the center’s education programming.

According to a staff report, an internal evaluation at city hall found that the festival produces roughly $100,000 in additional sales tax revenue.

Data from the Kimball Arts Center shows festival attendance significantly lagging behind pre-pandemic levels. About 29,000 people visited in 2022, compared with over 53,000 attending in 2019.

The staff report notes the festival is the arts center’s primary fundraiser, accounting for more than 40% of its annual operating budget.

Based on the council’s stance, the final agreement will return for a vote at a later meeting.

Separately, the council will take a procedural step, repealing an ordinance passed last year restricting co-owned vacation homes in certain neighborhoods.

The pivot comes after state lawmakers passed a bill in March banning cities and counties from regulating that type of property use. The bill was hailed by Pacaso, one of the most popular companies offering fractional ownership listings.

Park City Manager Matt Dias said under the new bill, HOAs are still able to set rules.

“The last vestige I would say of proactive measures would be if you are in an area that you have a HOA, your CC&Rs can continue to be a valuable tool to prevent some of the nightly rental activity and the fractional ownership activity,” Dias said.

The meeting will kick off with a study session about Mayor Nann Worel’s mine soil roundtable.

The 12-person panel includes residents with professional environmental backgrounds and city staff. They were tasked with taking a first stab at big questions such as: where should Park City store its contaminated soils? And should the city’s rules governing soil cover more areas of town?

Dias said the group’s recommendations to the council is the start of a long process to identify solutions.

“Council is going to lean in and share with staff and the community after this discussion about what comes first — where we should devote our time and attention,” he said.

The meeting Thursday in council chambers at the Marsac Building begins with a closed session at 2 p.m., and opens to the public at 2:30 p.m.

The agenda and a link to attend virtually can be found here.