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The former Main Street Mall site is one of the large construction projects along Main Street. City Hall prohibited work at six private-sector construction sites along Main Street or nearby during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

A still-life painting of Main Street during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival would show artist booths, crowds and the historic buildings lining the street.

City Hall airbrushed out the construction workers before the festival even started.

The Park City Building Department has prohibited construction crews from working during the arts festival as the expected large crowds arrive on Main Street. A shutdown during the arts festival was included in documents known as construction-mitigation plans, which regulate a building site.

Debbie Wilde, the compliance officer in the Building Department, said the shutdown started on Thursday afternoon and ends Sunday night, almost certainly meaning the construction crews will not restart until Monday morning. Wilde said there was the possibility of the Building Department allowing limited work on the interior of a construction site if it was determined the work would not impact the operations of the festival.

The shutdown involves six private-sector construction projects along Main Street or nearby. Some of the sites include the Rio Grande project on Park Avenue, the Silver Queen Hotel, a project at 562 Main St. and the site of the former Main Street Mall, which is the largest construction project on the street. City Hall-hired crews working on streetscape upgrades will also stop working for the festival.

A report submitted to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council this week indicated the crews at the Silver Queen Hotel planned to move fences to the curb along Heber Avenue during the arts festival.


"No noise, no dust. You don't want people walking in dust," Wilde said.

She said there have been similar restrictions during previous arts festivals. The shutdown, though, will likely be more noticeable this year since there is what has been called a historic amount of construction along Main Street. The construction crews did not oppose the shutdown, she said.

It seems it would have been difficult for the arts festival to proceed unhindered had City Hall not ordered a stoppage of the construction projects. The arts festival essentially occupies the length of Main Street. Artist booths, food vendors and the associated setups are built on the street itself. The crowds slowly move from booth to booth, stopping in some of the brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants as well.

It would have been trickier, meanwhile, for the construction crews to get to work since there are tight access and parking restrictions in place for the arts festival in the Main Street core and parts of surrounding Old Town.

Rory Murphy, the Rio Grande developer, said the shutdown was a reasonable condition by City Hall. He mentioned the difficulties construction crews would encounter if they were working over the weekend.

"It makes perfect sense. The city has a lot of logistical issues to deal with during the period surrounding the arts festival. And trying to combine what is already a somewhat chaotic traffic situation with a construction project makes no sense," Murphy said, adding, "This is absolutely fine with us . . . We simply want to see a successful arts fest."

Main Street is enjoying an extraordinary amount of private-sector investment as property owners express confidence in the economy. The Building Department last fall said the amount of construction along Main Street was greater than at any time since the recovery from a devastating fire in 1898.

Some Main Street businesses, though, have said the construction is hurting sales. There was particular concern earlier from businesses uphill from the former Main Street Mall site. City Hall, responding to the complaints, ordered the construction sites beautified with images on the fences and other measures meant to lessen the impact on the street.

The weekend construction shutdown is similar to one put in place during the Sundance Film Festival in January. The Building Department ordered a stoppage during the opening few days of the film festival and the event's closing days. The concerns were the same as those that influenced the decision during the arts festival.

Alison Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said the organization was made aware of the shutdown during the arts festival while reviewing City Hall-required documents known as construction-mitigation plans. The plans are meant to reduce the impacts of a construction site on its surroundings.

Butz said the shutdown allowed the arts festival organizers to retain its layout for the event. She said the shutdowns for Sundance and the arts festival do not hurt the construction timeline.

"I think it will be better for the guests and the Kimball," Butz said.