$107M Arts and Culture Plan Means 10yr Hold on New Open Space & Housing Projects

Apr 2, 2021

Credit Park City Municipal

At Thursday night’s city council meeting in Park City, councilors got a look at what the city could be giving up if the $107 million arts and culture district got the go-ahead.


It’s been one of the biggest remaining questions about the proposed arts and culture district in Park City: How does spending $107 million on one project affect everything else the city might want to do in the next 10 years?


At Thursday’s city council meeting, discussion about the district centered on that very issue. 


In short, if the city went ahead with the project in its current form, there’s not much else that could get accomplished in the next decade, said Senior Financial Data Analyst, Erik Daenitz.


“We believe you would not be able to sustain our historical level of open space acquisition or affordable housing expense,” he explained. “Stated more generally, what that really means is that big and medium size projects would be difficult to do, you would be constrained on. In the ARST/TRT hybrid strategy that we’ve talked about, there would be significant constraints through 2031.”


Daenitz did specify that current projects would be sustained, but adding anything else in the realm of open space or affordable housing would be very hard to accomplish.


With the countless numbers, acronyms, and spreadsheets that go along with financial discussions, it can be a tall order to keep track of everything, especially for a project as ambitious as the arts and culture district is.


To help simplify what was being discussed, Councilor Nann Worel framed the dilemma in a way many people can understand: buying a house.


“If I was gonna go out and buy a home, I would figure out how much I had to spend and then, if I wanted to spend more than that, I would have to look at if I spend that, what can’t I do?” Said Worel. ”Or if I buy a less expensive home, what opportunities does that open up for me? That’s kind of the level I’d like to have this discussion, where if we choose to spend $107 million or whatever it is, then we can’t do x, or if we figure out what a budget is at a lower level, what can we get for that budget?”


If the proposed development at the base of PCMR is built, there could be a steady flow of revenue to the city's capital fund starting around 2025.
Credit Park City Municipal

An intriguing slide presented on Thursday showed the potential tax revenue generated to the city’s capital fund if the PEG development at the base of Park City Mountain Resort is approved. According to the finance team’s model, the PCMR development could start bringing in money around 2025, increasing to around $1.5 million per year as the project nears completion, adding another interesting variable to the council’s decision making.  


Councilor Tim Henney told KPCW the council will only be getting deeper into the finance aspect of the project as discussions continue.


“We’re getting into the, I would say, the real meat of it and what we’d want to avoid is we don’t want to cut into the bone of all the other capital projects and that’s the big concern and I think everybody shares that concern and that’s what you’re hearing from the community and everybody on the council shares that concern,” Henney said.


The next city council meeting is scheduled for April 15th.