City Council votes 4 to 1 to open parcel of land earmarked for the Arts and Culture District to public art and live music
Programming will start as early as late July
Park City Council agreed to begin programming at what will become the town’s Arts and Culture District.
The motion was passed 4 to 1 during the July 1 City Council meeting with council members Steve Joyce, Max Doilney, Becca Gerber and Tim Henney voting for, and Nann Worel casting the only dissenting vote.
Worel’s vote was based partially on her concerns about the safety of using magnesium chloride to mitigate the dust in some areas of the parcel that sits between Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive.
She is worried about the effects the chemicals would have on children.
“This parcel belongs to the community, and I want to see it activated,” Worel said. “Last week, I expressed some concerns about the soil, and spraying magnesium chloride on it. I got information from a manufacturer. The side effects include itchy eyes, skin irritation, nausea, vomiting. I think about the health and safety there.”
Worel also expressed concern about the possible contamination of the soils in the area due to Park City’s mining past.
“I do have an issue about activating the rest of the site until we’re sure about the soils,” she said. “There are so many questions in the community about what really is under all of that, and when are we going to do the soil drillings.”
At first, the vote to open the area to foot and bicycle traffic, live-music performances and art installations, while the town solidifies its plans for the Arts and Culture District, seemed to be routine.
Jenny Diersen, Park City’s special events and economic development program manager, pitched the proposal that asked the council to consider temporary programming that would start as early as late July and run through October.
“The scope and scale is a level 2 type of event programming and activation, with a budget not to exceed $149,000,” she said in her presentation.
Diersen stated the importance of the area in its connectivity between the neighborhoods and the business districts is to let people come together again after the coronavirus pandemic.
“We hope to open up the site, and the goal is to take down the fencing so there would be walkability and bikeability access 24/7 to create those connections,” she said.
A chain link fence was installed after the demolition of the Kimball Art Center in late May.
In addition, the proposal indicated that staff members from the Park Silly Sunday Market, contracted at $24,000 each a year, would help with site management, programming and activation.
The activation would also include talking with Park City’s public art board about using the old Maverik station as a public-art installation canvas.
“If council approves, staff would release an (request for proposals) for artists on that site,” Diersen said.
The fee for the artists’ time and art would be $30,000, which would come out of the city’s exhibiting public art budget that sits at more than $300,000, she said.
In conjunction with the parcel’s activation, Heinrich Deters, the city’s trails and open space manager, proposed the area to be used for a Transit to Trails hub.
Community members would be able to park in the existing tarmac and catch a shuttle to the local trails Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When the council opened the issue for public input, Park City resident Jamison Brandi, who is currently running for City Council, called the parcel a liability, due to the lack of infrastructure.
“It’s a demolition site, and it’s a toxic site,” he said. “There’s no grass. Traffic flies through Prospector. There is uneasy construction and uneasy pavement. It’s not a safe environment.”
Jamison also said he has heard from local residents who are against opening up the area as he’s been canvassing the area for votes.
“The city’s biting off more than they can chew,” he said. “There are so many things in town, do we really need something for just 6 weeks?”
Jamison suggested the city to take its time when considering using the parcel.
“You have one shot to make a first impression with the residents,” he said. “Why not lease the land. Lease the parking lot and make some money. I think it’s great to have the Transit to Trails. Because the parking lots are already there. And I don’t have any issue with that.”
He also said to use the $150,000 to do soil sampling.
“So we know exactly what we’re dealing with on that site,” he said. “Because that will inform future conversations.”
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.