Amid traffic backups and roadwork, Bonanza Drive businesses rally
Traffic backups. Annoyed drivers. A soundtrack of heavy machinery.
Time for a celebration?
Some of the businesses situated just off the Bonanza Drive construction zone on Saturday threw a party in an effort to show people their doors remain open even as getting to them has become a hassle amid the roadwork.
The event, dubbed the Iron Horse Bash for the district where the businesses are located, drew a steady crowd in the afternoon, but it did not appear that it was a big weekend draw.
With balloons decorating the area outside some of the businesses on Iron Horse Drive and a badminton net set up, the people — adults and kids — seemed to have fun as the businesses attempted to make some extra sales.
"We’re not going to let people’s businesses fail. There’s a lot of sweat equity in these businesses," said Rebecca Roberts, the owner of the Iron Horse Drive workout space known as The Sweat Shop and the organizer of the event.
Roberts’ place has been open for two months, and the roadwork started in the early days of The Sweat Shop. She said business has slowed since the road crews arrived, with Roberts maintaining that drivers have shifted to Park Avenue to avoid the Bonanza Drive construction zone.
"This is a really viable part of Park City . . . These people are supporting the economy of Park City," Roberts said.
Fourteen businesses participated on Saturday, mostly on Iron Horse Drive according to Roberts. They offered promotions to people at the bash, Park City-based singer Tony Oros performed and there was a place to get ice cream.
Roberts said business on Sunday was slightly more brisk than it usually is on a typical Sunday. She said she is worried that the roadwork could doom businesses if their margins are already slim. Worse, Roberts said, many of the businesses in the district are locally owned.
Roberts said she wants to organize a block party for the Iron Horse Drive district with a barbecue and bands sometime after Labor Day.
Businesses along Bonanza Drive have been nervous for months about the roadwork, with owners saying sales have already suffered amid the economic uncertainty. The Bonanza Drive work is scheduled to extend through November. The heavily traveled street connects Deer Valley Drive with Kearns Boulevard, and it is widely used by people heading to or from Park Meadows, Prospector and points east like the East Side of Summit County and Wasatch County.
City Hall is in the second of two years of work on Bonanza Drive as it installs a water line, builds a pedestrian-bicyclist tunnel at the Iron Horse Drive intersection and makes other improvements to the highly traveled road. Last year’s work, though, was staged outside the business district.
Since the work commenced midsummer, there have been regular traffic backups on Bonanza Drive, on side streets and in some parking lots close to the work as flaggers have regulated the flow of the vehicles.
There have not been widespread complaints about falling business, though. A marketing campaign has advertised that the businesses remain open.
At one of the art galleries along the Bonanza Drive corridor, the District Gallery on Iron Horse Drive, the owner said she has not received a complaint about the traffic. Karen Alvarez said some of her customers have been choosing Iron Horse Drive as an alternate to Bonanza Drive, putting them close to the gallery.
"It’s actually has been OK. We have some surprise people who come this way because of construction," Alvarez said, recounting that customers have told her, "’We ended up here because of the construction.’"
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A Deer Valley Resort executive on Wednesday said the resort by the end of 2019 or in early 2020 intends to submit plans to City Hall for the initial infrastructure work needed for the eventual development of the Snow Park Lodge parking lots.