Historic Main Street: 2013 and beyond
January 1, 2013
What lies ahead for our Historic Main Street? As we welcome in another new year, and the 50th anniversary of destination skiing in Park City, we must decide if we want to maintain Main Street’s integrity as an authentic mining-era business district, or if we want to let it deteriorate into just another Main Street U.S.A.
Obviously, its historic nature is treasured since every advertisement, magazine article, flyer, and TV commercial includes the word "Historic." Even the Main Street business association is named the Historic Park City Alliance. Everyone from Silver Creek to Silver Lake and Summit Park to Promontory has a vested interest in the future of our downtown. We all cherish it as a part of our hometown culture.
As the mines gradually closed in the 1950s, many people were leaving town, and Main Street was looking a little rough around the edges. Then, with the arrival of Treasure Mountains Resort in 1963, the economy started to turn around. New buildings popped up, old wrecks were torn down, and many existing buildings were renovated and remain significant symbols of our past. Most of the new construction was true to the historic nature of Main Street.
Over the years, however, there have been a few unfortunate mistakes: the Treasure Mountain Inn, built in 1965 when any new construction was welcome; the Main Street Mall; and the Galleria.
There is soon to be another such building on upper Main Street. The townhouse project between The Imperial and Grappa, already approved by the Planning Department and coming in the spring, is too massive and modern for Main Street and has no commercial space on the ground floor. It is hard to understand how projects of this magnitude meet the compatibility criteria of the Land Management Code, the Historic District Design Guidelines, and the General Plan.
We cannot do much about past mistakes, but we can certainly make sure all future Main Street projects complement the existing historic qualities of our mountain community. The Park City Land Management Code and the Historic District Design Guidelines determine what can be built and what cannot be built. It is time to strengthen these laws, not weaken them by creating exceptions and including ambiguous language that would allow projects that do not belong on Main Street. These laws apply equally to all developers public, private, and nonprofit. It is bad policy to create, delete, or modify land management laws to accommodate any one project.
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Do we want to take the "Historic" out of Historic Main Street, one of the biggest attractions in Summit County? Park City’s elected and appointed officials are currently involved in a process that could strengthen or weaken the Park City Land Management Code. I encourage them to take a stand and only make revisions that will ensure the protection of Historic Main Street.
If you care about maintaining the integrity of Historic Main Street, send an email to the Park City Planning Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Park City Council at Council_mail@parkcity.org.