Park City Council met Thursday and voted in favor of funding member dues to the Central Wasatch Commission. They showed support for the Historic Main Street Alliance plan to implement car-free Sundays through the summer season and unanimously passed a resolution making June 2020, Pride Month.
The Park City Historic Preservation Alliance decided, based on a survey of Old Town businesses, they would institute a car-free Main Street on Sundays through the summer season. They hope to start on June 14. Park City Council may hold a special session the end of this month to allow for more public input. Council Member Tim Henny says the resident response in favor of a pedestrian only Main Street is overwhelming.
“Residents seem wildly enthusiastic. I would say as high as 90 to 95% of the feedback and input and comments that we are getting from residents and citizens is in favor of re- purposing Main Street toward more pedestrian activity and more pedestrian friendly, and I'll just kind of leave it at that because the details need to be worked out. I think that the community wants to have this conversation and wants to be part of a public hearing so it's important that we notice it and that we put it on the agenda and that we have what I would call a full blown community conversation.”
Closing Main Street to cars has been a contentious discussion for years with businesses in general concerned about the impacts that it would have on visitors shopping and dining there. The HPCA survey showed 76 % of businesses in favor of car-free Sundays on Main Street. The council has received about six emails, half support closing Main Street to cars and the other half wants no change. Henney thinks it’s important to hear all sides.
“I would call a full-blown community conversation with all the stakeholders involved. I think the merchants need to hear from the locals and how the locals feel safe supporting their businesses and patronizing the businesses on Main Street. We are hearing, you know, aside from that consensus of 76% that were identified in the survey at HPCA. What we are getting an email is much more on the extreme ends of both ends of the spectrum. The HPCA did request that their membership write emails to the City Council.”
Staff was instructed to work out details and a special council meeting will be called based on how quickly staff can pull together a detailed plan. In other city business, the council voted unanimously to pay The Central Wasatch Commission $25,000 in membership dues acknowledging that one of the critical ideals that came out of their 2020 visioning session is to find ways to collaborate regionally.
The CWC is an interlocal agency consisting of stakeholders working to preserve the recreation, environment, and economy of the Central Wasatch region. Summit County Council Member Chris Robinson is the Chair of the CWC executive board. Park City Mayor Andy Beerman sits on the board. Henney supports the membership contribution and says even before the COVID-19 economic downturn, they were considering reducing the city’s contribution of $100,000 to $25,000.
“So, we have two seats on the CWC executive board. Summit County authorized $25,000 contribution and you know this has gone down over the years.”
The council voted unanimously to designate June as Pride Month. Rainbow banners will be displayed on Main Street through the month in solidarity with the world-wide movement to acknowledge the contributions and human rights issues the LGBTQ community faces. The intention is to embolden social acceptance and pride rather than stigma for those who identify as LGBTQ.