The recently installed president of a business group centered along Main Street late last week sent a letter to Park City leaders expressing worries about the impact of the Park City Mountain Resort-Talisker Land Holdings, LLC lawsuit could have on the ski season.
The one-page letter, dated on Friday, is from Stephanie Johnston to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council. Johnston is the general manager of the Marriott Summit Watch on lower Main Street. She is the president of the board of trustees of the Historic Park City Alliance, an influential organization consisting of businesses on Main Street or just off the street.
The letter was sent shortly after PCMR outlined in a court filing the catastrophic impact a shutdown of the resort would have on the Park City economy. PCMR has long said it could close if it is not successful in the lawsuit.
"The HPCA is concerned about the potential ramifications from the lawsuit between Talisker and Park City Mountain Resort," Johnston said in the letter, using the acronym HPCA to identify the group.
The case is centered on PCMR's lease of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC acreage underlying much of the resort's terrain. The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side is pursuing an eviction of PCMR as a result of a series of favorable rulings in the case. A judge last week ordered the sides into mediation.
The Johnston letter says "the potential collateral damage could harm the community as a whole." It describes PCMR as generating 40 percent of the Park City area's skier-days, an industry measurement that counts one person skiing all or part of one day, and says the resort is a "significant driver of the Park City economy."
The letter, meanwhile, mentions the importance of the Town Lift to Main Street. The lift links lower Main Street to the PCMR slopes, and it has long been used in Main Street's marketing. It has been especially important to the lower section of the street. The Town Lift is one of the lifts PCMR has said it plans to disassemble and remove if the resort is evicted.
"With the location of Town Lift on Main Street and the potential that it would not be used during the 2014-15 ski season, along with reduction and/or no use of the PCMR terrain, the HPCA worries that the economic impact to our membership will be devastating," the letter says.
City Councilor Tim Henney, who attends Historic Park City Alliance on behalf of the other elected officials, said in an interview said he encouraged the group to write the letter after some of the alliance's membership expressed concerns about the situation. He said he wants PCMR and the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC-Vail Resorts side to make the wellbeing of the community important. He called Park City the "third party in this issue."
"We can continue to urge the parties to make responsible decisions that put the community in the forefront," Henney said.
PCMR President and General Manager Jenni Smith released a prepared statement in response to the letter from the Main Street group. The statement hopes for a "prompt resolution that works for both parties and the Park City community."
"We know this dispute has created uncertainty and tension within Park City. We have been trying to resolve this dispute for over two years and we are committed to reaching an outcome where the resort continues to be a world-class destination and integral part of the Park City community," she also said in the statement.