Sports Park looks for development gold
October 28, 2011
The Utah Athletic Foundation is hoping to keep the Olympic spirit alive and the park profitable by adding additional buildings and housing at the Utah Olympic Sports Park.
Colin Hilton, from the Utah Athletic Foundation, asked the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission to rezone about 400 acres at the park as a Specially Planned Area, allowing developers to seek a one-time approval for all the buildings in the development.
According to Hilton, the foundation wants to build 294,000 square feet on 113 acres, clustering development around the already existing Day Lodge and Alf Engen Museum.
"In the initial phase, we want to build athlete housing and affordable housing for the park employees," Hilton said. "Athlete housing at the park would draw additional teams to come train in Park City. Not having convenient lodging for various time frames is a complaint we have heard often."
The foundation is proposing dorm-style lodging that would sleep 100 people. Developers also said they want to expand the Day Lodge and build a sports medicine center, athletic training facility and office space.
Developer Eric Langvardt said adding additional buildings and increasing services has always been the goal at the Olympic Park.
"We had a vision all along of providing a variety of uses that are within the context of recreational amenities to the community and Olympic training," Langvardt said. "The park serves more locals than anyone realizes. It is not just an elite group of athletes up there and we want to be able to continue supporting all of the programs."
The foundation is expecting to build the development over a span of 30 years. Starting with the sports medicine center and potentially adding an event center and challenge course down the road.
"We are going to let the market determine what we build and when," said Langvardt. "We want to focus on the needs of the community and be sensitive to the planning process. We aren’t looking at building anything that will draw people up away from Kimball Junction retailers or really generate revenue outside of the park."
Additional services and buildings are vital to maintaining the park and keeping it from falling into disrepair developers told the Planning Commission. Currently, the Olympic Park is losing $2.5 million a year, according to Hilton.
"The ability of the park to self-sustain and not rely on the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Endowment hinges on this proposal," he said.
The Planning Commissioners, for the most part, supported the idea, but questioned the impact it would have on the viewshed in the Basin.
"Seeing a development at the top of a ridge as soon as you drive into Park City is against what the Planning Commission should stand for," said Commissioner Bruce Taylor. Adding that the mostly glass architecture could increase light pollution in the area.
Commissioner Mike Washington disagreed, saying the buildings at the Sports Park would be so high and set back, it would be hard to see them from Kimball Junction.
The Planning Commission will decide whether or not to approve a rezone for the development in November.
Hilton and the development’s design team will be hosting an open house for neighbors to review the development plans and ask questions on Wed., Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m. at the Utah Olympic Park Museum.