Main Street prepares for Sundance transformation
In just five weeks, Park City will welcome filmmakers, actors and entertainment outlets for one of the most prestigious entertainment industry events across the globe: the Sundance Film Festival. Until then, Main Street is preparing to face the changes in traffic, parking and business the festival brings every year.
Alison Butz, executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said both affiliated and unaffiliated sponsors for the festival rent out spaces on Main Street for all 10 days of the festival.
"In the past, we have truly had anything from Kenneth Cole to Grey Goose Vodka to Entertainment Weekly Magazine rent out spaces on Main Street for the festival," Butz said. "Those are just getting nailed down and going through the permitting process with the city’s Planning Department."
Parking areas on Main Street will be modified to accommodate those renting out spaces as well as the increased foot traffic. The west side of the street’s parking spaces will become loading and unloading areas, and the east side spaces will be used for increased sidewalk width.
The public garages will charge fees for parking, but the fees will be different on certain days. Butz said those dates are currently being determined. The changes will take place on Jan. 16, the first day of the festival, and will go back to normal on Jan. 27 when the festival has ended.
Construction on Main Street will be halted during the festival as a result of a decision made by the city’s Building Department placing restrictions on projects to either stop work or only work inside, Butz said. She added that construction on the building once known as Main Street Mall will pull fences in closer to the curbs for a wider pedestrian walkway.
Because of construction, Butz said there are fewer spaces available for companies to rent out for the festival this year. "Around this time of year, I am still getting calls from places looking for spaces to rent, and every year, there is less and less space. We are going to feel really full during the festival this year," she said.
Due to the congestion the festival will bring to Main Street, Butz said she encourages the public and visitors to take the bus instead of having to deal with traffic and the hassle of finding or paying for a parking space. "There are additional bus routes added during Sundance in order to make it easier for people to make it down to Main Street and other Sundance venues," she said.
Heber Avenue will turn into a bus lane only, so driving up Park Avenue towards the Ski Bridge, signs will signal for turning left onto 9th Street, and at 7th Street, an officer will direct traffic left onto 7th Street to go onto Main Street. Driving uphill on Main Street and getting to the stop sign at Heber Avenue by the Kimball Art Center, there will be no right or left turn and vehicles must proceed straight. Butz said this is so buses can stay on their time schedule and reach all the different venues.
Those venues include Sky Lodge, the Park City Museum and the Gateway building. These venues will be rented out by affiliated sponsors of the festival. Chase Bank will be located in the museum, Acura is going into Sky Lodge and New Frontier "a social and creative space" as well as the main ticket box office will be in the Gateway building.
The Kimball Art Center is preparing to become the venue for the Sundance House, presented by Hewlett-Packard. Bev Wyble, the front desk representative, said Art Center staffers will be moving out of the building Jan. 5-8 so Hewlett-Packard can enter the building and prepare it for the festival.
"We’ve been rented out by Hewlett Packard for quite a few years now," Wyble said. "So they will be coming in and taking over through Sundance, and we will move back in on Jan. 28."
Other companies taking over spaces on Main Street are still being determined, according to Butz. She said she will find out which spaces will be rented and either open to the public or guest-list only.
"For those venues open to the public, we won’t have a full list, surprisingly, until the second week in January," she said. "As soon as we know, we will let the public know so they are sure that there are things to see and check out."