The long-awaited Park City Arts and Culture District was the topic of Wednesday’s roundtable discussion with city government.
Park City purchased the five-acre parcel of land at the corner of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive back in 2017 and officials say despite complications due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, plans are on schedule.
The general public got their first glimpse of the proposal at Wednesday’s Roundtable, which was hosted by Park City Municipal. Citizens got the chance to chime in on the plans and have their questions answered by city officials.
The vision of the project is to become a hub for Park City’s creative community. The site will provide creative and events space, as well as dining and affordable housing opportunities.
Park City Councilor Nann Worel says the district will provide important opportunities for the community’s youth population as well.
“What’s risen to the top for me, personally, is youth, and how this space could be activated, how it could meet many of the needs that we’ve been hearing that are not met currently in the community where there’s a safe place for our youth to go, for them to have something productive to do, for them to have some creative time,” Worel said. “I think that’s been really energizing as we’ve moved through this process.”
The project is slated to cost the city upward of $70 million. Demolition to clear the way is scheduled to begin in November of this year, construction next spring, and an opening date is set for November 2023.
Deputy City Manager David Everitt told citizens who were unsure of the timing of the project that challenging economic situations can often be the best opportunities for capital development projects. He says continuing the plans for the Arts and Culture District in the middle of the pandemic could actually stimulate the local economy and save the city a substantial amount of money in the long term.
“We know there’s historically low interest rates in terms of financing that are available right now,” Everitt said. “When you can capitalize on that you can literally save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars over the life of a project.”
The Kimball Art Center and Sundance Institute are both partners in the project and are expected to have headquarters at the district once construction is complete. The pandemic has been especially hard on the arts nonprofits, however, as both organizations have recently laid off staff members in response toits impacts.
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman acknowledged the difficulties faced by Kimball Arts and Sundance and says there will be alternate plans in place if they are no longer able to partner with the city on the project.
“Their focus really is on keeping their organizations in good health so they can survive this particular crisis,” Beerman said. “I believe, in the long run, this is going to continue to be an incredible opportunity for everybody involved and we hope that they’re able to recover quickly and be able to come back and start having these discussions and hopefully ultimately move forward. If not, there are plans ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D’ and we will look at other opportunities to move forward.”
The full roundtable discussion and presentation on the Arts and Culture District is available on Park City Government’s Facebook page.