It’s looking like car-free Sundays on Park City’s Main Street will return this summer after the Historic Park City Alliance forwarded a positive recommendation to the city to bring the popular weekend event back for a second year.
What started as a last-minute fix to bring some economic activity to a struggling business community at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic turned into something pretty extraordinary.
Car-free Sundays on Main Street started last June and empowered businesses to move things into the street. It allowed for open air dining and shopping opportunities for businesses hurt by COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Some businesses even reported record summer sales.
After conducting a survey of local businesses, the Historic Park City Alliance business community voted to forward a positive recommendation to the city for continuing the event this summer.
HPCA Executive Director Alison Kuhlow told KPCW the dates will be roughly the same as last year, but final say is ultimately up to the city council when it comes to exact dates and details. She added the car-free event will also run at the same time as the iconic Silly Market, which was absent last summer due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We’re looking to have car-free Sundays from June to the end of September and they will be running concurrently with the Park Silly Sunday Markets,” said Kuhlow. “Silly Market would be located in their historical location, which is just north of Heber Avenue, and then we would be keeping car-free Sundays from Heber Avenue up to the brew pub.”
Despite restaurants and bars loving the opportunity to move into the street, some retailers actually reported taking hits on Sundays. Increased staff needed to monitor product displays and merchandise that might not hold up to extended hours in the sun and heat created a unique problem.
Kuhlow said the feel of the event probably won’t be too different than in 2020, since many of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings will likely still be in place. She said the difference this year will be businesses will have much more time to plan ahead and get creative.
“I do hope, and it has been talked about, that having this much time for the businesses to plan for what they want to do for car-free Sundays actually will make their activations, I think, more vibrant and bigger and different than what they had last year,” she said. “We really came up with this idea last May and we started implementing it in June, which was a tight turnaround, so we’re hoping that this extra time gives people to become even more creative.”
A final approval vote for 2021 car-free Sundays by the Park City City Council will happen in the coming weeks.