The arts and culture district will once again be a central topic at this week’s meeting of the Park City City Council. The council will be taking a deep dive into the financial model for the project and explore different ways to pay for its increasing costs.
If there’s one aspect of the arts and culture district project that has been particularly troubling for people following its progress, it’s just how much the project is expected to cost.
Ballooning construction costs over the past year have increased the expected total price tag to near the $100 million mark -- that’s including the $19.5 million the city paid for the land in 2017.
Councilors will be taking a deep dive into the financial modeling of the project on Thursday and will try and determine if the project is still a priority for the city at this time.
City Manager Matt Dias told KPCW that models put together by city staff do present a responsible path forward, but will require serious commitments if the project is to get off the ground.
“It absolutely requires real commitment,” said Dias. “It requires policy commitment, it requires financial commitment, and, of course, there are opportunity costs and those are some of the things that we’ve been discussing over the last several months and taking additional public stakeholder input, value engineering the project, but I think the good news is that we absolutely have a responsible path forward if this is still the priority.”
One potential avenue council will look into is expanding the use of the Additional Resort Sales Tax. The ARST currently helps fund street projects in Old Town, Main Street, as well as various open space initiatives.
Dias said the city is not looking at increasing the tax, which is currently an additional 1% on purchases made in Park City, but would add arts and culture as a recipient of those funds.
“We’re just talking about broadening that definition,” he said. “The reason that revenue source was viewed upon favorably as staff for its potential was because it was further leveraging the benefits of the resort economy to create something here for locals for affordable housing, to create arts, culture, and economy.”
Thursday’s city council meeting is scheduled to begin at 3:30. Details on how to participate virtually can be found here.