Ideas, and ideals, considered along Park City street | ParkRecord.com

Ideas, and ideals, considered along Park City street

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The stretch of Park Avenue as it leaves Main Street northbound offers a mix of places, and ideals, that many Parkites covet.

There are some historic houses, the Park City Library and Education Center, City Park and, just to the west, Park City Mountain Resort. City Hall, which has important holdings along that section of Park Avenue, is considering ideas for its properties. The exercise will touch on issues dear to Parkites, but it could also eventually create consternation as ideas, including development possibilities, are molded for the individual pieces of ground.

A group of Parkites on Tuesday night delved into options for what is known as lower Park Avenue, considering numerous possibilities for the City Hall-held properties and others. Upward of 35 people joined a roster of Park City officials at an open house at the DoubleTree by Hilton Park City — The Yarrow to talk about lower Park Avenue. The people offered diverse ideas as they spoke about lower Park Avenue itself, the PCMR parking lots and the municipal properties.

City Hall officials provided an overview of funding possibilities as improvements are considered, most notably a source controlled by the municipal government known as the Lower Park Avenue Redevelopment Agency. It brings in money through tax increments, essentially most of the property taxes paid above the 1990 level on or close to lower Park Avenue.

Mayor Jack Thomas told open house attendees Park City is in what he sees as the early part of a design process. It is the most fun part, he said.

The organizers split the room into groups, giving the people a chance to discuss ideas around a table before offering them to the full room. The people in attendance represented a variety of neighborhoods, ages and professional backgrounds.

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The people at one of the tables mentioned the parking lots at PCMR and the prospects of development atop the lots. City Hall, as a result of a partnership with PCMR, is expected to be heavily involved as ideas are crafted for the parking lots.

Hope Melville, an Old Town resident, spoke about parking at PCMR, saying, perhaps, parking could be built at Canyons Resort. Vail Resorts, which operates Canyons Resort and owns PCMR, plans to link the two into one property prior to the start of the 2015-2016 ski season. Clay Stuard, who lives in Park Meadows, wondered how much parking is needed for PCMR and how much is wanted by City Hall for special events.

The group at another table spent time discussing the housing situation in Park City. People at the table spoke about the difficulties of raising a family in an Old Town house, the roommate experience of Park City and the lack of affordable housing options. Another person noted that Old Town appears to be in transition from a neighborhood of year-round Parkites to one with many vacation rentals.

Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager, told the people at the table the city is a "small town with big-city amenities." He said Park City could benefit from additional professional jobs.

The event was held toward the beginning of what officials see as a broad look at the lower Park Avenue corridor. Much of the upcoming talk will likely focus on a patchwork of City Hall-controlled properties, including the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center, the former site of a fire station on Park Avenue and a house next door as well as the Park City Senior Citizens Center on Woodside Avenue and adjacent land. A design studio is planned in July to generate ideas for the properties held by the municipal government.

Some of the other topics broached during the open house included:

  • a desire to keep new buildings scaled to historic ones
  • the importance of year-round Parkites
  • an idea of building restricted housing of some sort on the field outside the Park City Library and Education Center. The group indicated the housing could be situated on the east side of the field parallel to Park Avenue.
  • a call for new projects to avoid attempting to re-create the look of a historic building. Instead designs should reflect the character of the community, the group said.
  • an idea to build underground parking garages and then charge for parking in the garages. That could discourage people from driving to the neighborhood, according to the group.
  • the possibility of a continuous green space from east to west along the lower Park Avenue corridor
  • an idea to create incentives for property owners with older units now in the vacation-rental pool to rent the places out on a long-term basis
  • a contention that the heart of Old Town is situated along lower Park Avenue since property in the southern reaches of the neighborhood is more expensive

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