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Main Street sees strong visitation in December, despite annual decline

A new concert venue, The Marquis Park City, opened on Main Street in December, helping boost visitation.
Parker Malatesta
A new concert venue, The Marquis Park City, opened on Main Street in December, helping boost visitation.

Park City’s Main Street saw an influx of visitors for parts of December, but tourism was down other parts of the year.

Visitation numbers published by city hall show Main Street had more than 3.7 million visitors in 2023, the lowest annual amount since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Park City Economic Development Manager Erik Daenitz sourced the numbers using Placer.ai, software that collects anonymized cell phone location data.

“I think the key takeaway from this is that in terms of year-over-year visitor traffic, Main Street is actually seeing an absolute reduction in the volume of visitors through the district, and in fact that number is below levels seen in 2017," Daenitz said. "This doesn’t directly correlate to sales taxes. It is influential on sales taxes, but the businesses also have certain pricing power.”

Despite the overall decline, tourism in mid-December and the week after Christmas outpaced visits during the same period in 2022.

Most visitors came from the Deer Valley area, accounting for 26% of Main Street visits in December. Canyons Village followed making up about 10%, and Salt Lake City at about 8%.

City hall is embarking on a new plan for the Main Street area with a local stakeholder group and consultants. Park City Councilmember Tana Toly, who owns and operates Red Banjo Pizza on Main Street, described the goal of the plan at a meeting Thursday.

“What does the next 30 to 50 years look like for Main Street? As we go into Olympics, and then also we have quite huge developments knocking on our back doors such as Mayflower and the Canyons, and we want to remain the crown jewel of Park City," Toly said. "Are we supposed to go pedestrian? Are we supposed to get rid of parking? What does this all look like? That’s all part of this.”

Along with new transportation configurations, the plan will also consider potential redevelopment of city-owned land, which includes the China Bridge garage and the Brew Pub parking lot.

Park City Councilmember Jeremy Rubell advocated for using consultants to speed up the planning process.

“We want community engagement,” Rubell said. “We need the small businesses to be part of this. At the same time, we want this to happen on a relatively quick timeline.”

A date has not been set for when the Main Street plan will return to the city council.