Prospector Square hires new executive director
Craig Dennis has a special place in his heart for small businesses. He grew up in a family-owned hardware business in Washington, then spent years working with local companies as a newspaper publisher.
Now, the Oakley resident will again be in the sphere of small businesses as he takes over as executive director of the Prospector Square Property Owners Association.
Dennis came to Utah in 2006 to work as publisher of The Daily Herald in Provo. Prior to that position, he was a publisher for newspapers in California and Washington.
In 2008, he left the industry and found part-time work as a ski instructor at Deer Valley Resort while picking up “odd jobs” in the hospitality industry. He moved to Midway and later to Oakley.
When the Prospector Square Property Owners Association’s executive director position opened, he was excited to jump into a new opportunity, he said.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with small businesses,” he said. “It’s one of the things that excited me. I wanted to get more involved in the Park City community, and this allows me that opportunity.”
Plus, Dennis was eager to help manage the master-planning process that the area will undergo in the near future.
After the association’s Board of Directors finalized the initial plans for master planning last year, Dennis was selected for the role, said Dean Berrett, the corporate secretary of the Board. Dennis started in his role about a month ago.
Berrett said that although Dennis did not have experience in property management, his managerial skills were appealing.
“He has an attitude (of taking the) initiative,” he said. “He is not afraid to do anything.”
Berrett said that there have been no significant improvements made to Prospector Square since it was first plotted in 1974.
“Our infrastructure is somewhat dated and in need of improvement,” he said.
The Board hired a consultant two years ago to develop a master improvement plan to bring Prospector Square’s infrastructure, layout, utilities and parking into the 21st century, Berrett said.
“As the rest of Park City gets updated, we have some catching up to do,” Dennis said. “This area is ripe for some upgrades.”
Since the entire project is set to cost about $6.4 million, the Board decided to break the project into phases. The association assessed its members $1.1 million for Phase One, which will focus on updating the sewer system along Prospector Avenue as well as parking, including adding lighting to the parking lots by Good Karma Restaurant and New Claim Condominiums, Berrett said.
Dennis said that the first phase is meant to align with updates the city and the Utah Department of Transportation are making to Prospector Avenue. The association’s work is scheduled to begin in April or May and the city’s work in around June, Berrett said.
Later this year, there will be an assessment of the association’s members to see what should be done during Phase Two, such as redoing sidewalks to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
Dennis said that one of the main things he is looking forward to as executive director is to not only improve the aesthetic of Prospector Square, but also create a community for residents and business owners.
“What excites me the most is getting to know all the merchants and getting them to know each other a little better,” he said.
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