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Park City Council takes a small step forward on Bonanza Park planning

An overview of the Bonanza Park neighborhood.
Claire Wiley
Electric Brew Productions
An overview of the Bonanza Park neighborhood.

The Park City Council authorized a precursor to issuing a more formal Request for Proposal for the five-acre Bonanza Park site originally purchased to be an arts and culture district.

The Kimball Art Center has been waiting for almost seven years to build a new, permanent center after it sold its building on Main Street in 2015. In 2017, the center signed a letter of intent with Park City to be an anchor tenant of what was formerly envisioned as an arts and culture district on five acres off Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard.

A lot of time and money have gone into planning that property. The first plan included a new art center and Sundance Institute headquarters along with housing, parking and a transit center. It was put on hold when project costs went over the $100 million mark.

The city started over and has spent the last few years with a consulting firm and stakeholders looking at what could be built there. City staff say there is public support for a mixed-use area that includes parks and plazas, restaurants as well as art and exhibit space.

Wanting to move this forward, the city council on Thursday had four options to consider. The council chose option three: proceed with issuing an RSOQ or a Request for Statement of Qualifications. City Councilmember Jeremy Rubell says this was a way to speed up the process by finding qualified vendors now.

“This one is sort of an interim tool,” Rubell said. “The way I look at it, it's more advanced than doing nothing.”

Kimball Art Center Executive Director Aldy Milliken says as someone who has been involved all along, he doesn’t want the city to lose momentum.

“I'd like to encourage the council to continue on the path option for the process that it’s undergoing, it does seem like speed is in all of our best wishes,” Milliken said.

The art center, he adds, needs the city to act, so the Kimball can start on its next phase of planning and fundraising for a new center.

Executive Director of the Arts Council of Park City and Summit County Jocelyn Scudder says the arts council wants to ensure any plan eventually approved includes space for local artists.

“We do believe in following the process and taking time, especially with finishing that small area plan,” Scudder said. “I think that there's a lot of value in that. Furthermore, we just want to make sure, if you end up going with a more expedited process, as a member of an arts council, I'm here to advocate to include spaces for local artists in the RFP. There hasn't been a lot of clarity whether that will be included.”

The arts council has a three-year lease for space at 1500 Kearns Blvd., she says, but it’s not permanent.

Mitch Bedke, President of the Park City Artist Association agrees, local artists need to be considered.

“[We] do want to make sure that local artists, local makers are included in this and not shut out,” Bedke said. “I’d like to ask that the council when they consider the RFP that they put makerspaces maybe gallery spaces, where there's a place for us to congregate in in one area. I know we're still early in the process. But I want to speak out for the artists, we do need a home.”

The public is invited to an Art Talk discussion looking at the visual arts in Park City Monday, March 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Park City Library community room. Participants will include Milliken, Scudder, Bedke and Jen Schumacher, the co-chair of the Park City Gallery Association.