Kamas on the brink of a growth spurt
Last year, Kamas City gained two stoplights and this spring, gained an updated Kamas Café, now called Timber Creek Café. On Monday, the café will begin selling its patty melts and homemade potato chips for dinner as well as lunch.
Kamas City Councilman Kevan Todd, calls the newly renovated restaurant a kind of "facelift" for Main Street, but adds that there’s even more change on the way.
"There’s quite a bit in the works as far as new businesses, some are under construction and some are still in the planning process," he says.
Dirk Rockhill, has lived in Kamas for 35 of his 39 years. He manages Kamas Storage and the Timbercreek Café for owners Ron and Mary Strand, and says that investors, like the Strands have purchased buildings in town, but for the most part they are not yet ready to change much yet.
"No existing businesses that have been purchased by investors are really changing yet," he said.
It’s not that the real estate hasn’t appreciated, he explains it has. "It’s a matter of waiting until the population gets bigger," he says.
Rockhill says the Strands have sold their ranch, S Bar S, to a major investment group in town who has purchased virtually all of the land south of the Phillips 66 gas station.
Todd confirms that the group, led by Park City Resident Mark Fischer, has approached Kamas City Hall with plans for several commercial building lots. The county won’t re-zone the land for commercial use, so the group asked Kamas to annex their land into the city limits. Kamas also denied their request, however.
"They wanted us to annex their ranch and give them some commercial space, but from a city council standpoint, Kamas has a lot on their plate and at this time we’re choosing not to annex them in," Todd said, noting that Kamas has already annexed the entry corridor off of S.R. 248.
In February, longtime Poison Creek Antiques owner Jim Conway sold his building to Vern Greco and his fiancée, Park City optometrist Colleen Schubach. Greco and Schubach are renovating the building at 95 South Main into "The New West Country Store," with hopes of opening by Memorial Day.
Greco has worked for the ski industry for over 30 years, and recently resigned as chief operating officer for the Powdr Corporation, the parent company to Park City Mountain Resort.
Greco has admired the building for eight years, he says, and found it "serendipitous" that the building was up for sale just as he was considering leaving the ski industry.
"The concept is that this will not just be a feed store, but that we will have a lot more farm and ranch hardware, pet food, pet supplies, kids accessories, and men’s and women’s accessories," Greco told the Park Record. "The idea is to provide a one-stop shopping opportunity for the people living the rural lifestyle, which goes a lot further than feed these days."
Provisions, a sandwich and coffee shop on Main Street popular especially with the high school crowd, has also been sold, according to Todd, and will likely be moving.
C. Sidwell purchased Kamas’ South Fork Hardware Store last August from John and Pauly Hoyt, expanding the back of the store to include a larger gardening section in addition to adding equipment rentals.
Originally from Salt Lake, Sidwell has observed, "Kamas doesn’t want to change it wants to stay small and that’s fine with me."
Though Todd welcomes some of the changes and the commercial growth that will hopefully allow the town to keep sewer and water costs low for residents, he continues to worry about whether Kamas will grow responsibly. Like Sidwell, Todd says he appreciates the small size of the town he’s known for the past 30 years, but he recognizes there’s little anyone can do to stop growth. It’s part of his motivation for getting involved in government, he says.
"I hate to see Kamas change — it’s been such a close-knit, tight community," he admits. "But it’s growing and there’s nothing you can do about it and so that’s one of the reasons why I got on city council to try and manage what growth comes in. if you manage it properly, my feeling is that it’s going to help the residents, but as far as stopping growth, that’s not going to happen."
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