The leadership of the Kimball Art Center continues to work with City Hall on an ambitious expansion of the not-for-profit's building in Old Town, but it is not clear when Park City officials will determine whether the plans will be approved.
The Kimball Art Center wants to expand with a major addition at the high-profile Main Street-Heber Avenue intersection, where the art center's patio is located. The Kimball Art Center is seeking two approvals from City Hall -- one that would allow an exception to height restrictions at the site and one that would find the designs meet the municipal government's tight Old Town design guidelines. City Hall staffers may grant both of the approvals.
Anya Grahn, the historic preservation planner at City Hall, said staffers have requested the Kimball Art Center team incorporate changes to the design to better fit the "pattern and rhythm" of the streetscape along Main Street. Grahn said staffers discussed with the Kimball Art Center breaking up the mass of the expansion, such as by adding windows or putting decorative metal designs on the outside walls.
"We don't want it to detract, necessarily, from the look and feel of historic Main Street," Grahn said.
City Hall procedures call for staffers to make the determinations within 45 days of a required public input session. The session was held on March 31. The 45-day window, though, can open and close based on changes that are made to the designs.
The 45-day window to review the Kimball Art Center expansion was stopped on April 24 and restarted in early May. It was then stopped again on May 19 and has not restarted. The review would have ended on May 14 had it not been stopped and restarted. The stoppages allow staffers to provide opinions to the Kimball Art Center about the design, Grahn said.
Buzz Strasser, a member of the Kimball Art Center's board of directors and the chairman of the art center's committee overseeing the expansion, said a determination is desired "as soon as we can get it."
"It's a process. We certainly respect the city and all the work they have to do," Strasser said.
The expansion proposal calls for a 15,000-square-foot addition ranging in height from 32 feet tall to 46 feet tall. It would be connected to the existing Kimball Art Center building. The Kimball Art Center says it needs more room for exhibitions and programs.
A renowned Danish architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group, was selected to design the expansion. The firm's initial design, resembling stacked timbers, was widely criticized in Park City as being out of place along Main Street. Bjarke Ingels Group proposed a second design, scrapping the stacked timber look. The second design is the current submittal to City Hall.
The design has drawn mixed opinions, including during the public input session in March. The supporters argue an expansion of a historic building does not need to resemble the original structure. The Kimball Art Center expansion is needed, they say. The critics counter that the redone design still does not fit along the streetscape of Main Street.