At a recent Park City Council meeting, some members of the public expressed concerns about the lack of historic preservation efforts–efforts that were dictated under the terms of the Flagstaff Annexation area–now known as Empire Pass. Just this week, a historic building in the Silver King Mine Complex collapsed. Now, the city is debating how best to preserve its mining history.
When the Park City Council opened a plat approval for the Tower Condominiums at Empire Pass to public comment, they hadn’t intended to wade into a 45-minute conversation about developers’ responsibility when it comes to preserving historic structures. Sally Elliott from Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History pointed to what she perceives as 20 years of lapsed preservation efforts by property owners.
“We’ve got a lot of years that have passed that we haven’t done what we should have been doing all along, and we don’t find any fault with that—we just want to get moving on," Elliott said. "I can only imagine that if the Daly West had been preserved 20 years ago, it wouldn’t have fallen down, and then we wouldn’t have to be fixing it up.”
Planning Director Bruce Erickson says it was a topic that was scheduled for this week’s planning commission meeting, but more time was needed to get input from other stakeholders.
“There’s a professional discussion going on about whether we’re supposed to stabilize things and keep them in a stable condition, or we’re supposed to restore everything back to the 1910 era,” Erickson said.
The Planning Department, he says, will ask the Commission to further define the preservation standards for historic buildings.
“We’re going to lose structures, and we’re going to lose family members, and there’s not a lot we can do about it," Erickson said. "I think the important thing is to make sure that we stay consistent with our mission, which is to be able to tell our story 25 years from now.”
Friends of Ski Mountain Mining History currently has seven projects listed as priorities for preservation. An agreement that would dictate funding for the preservation efforts must be approved before future development is allowed in Empire Pass.