Construction begins on controversial Woodward Park City action camp
A small array of heavy equipment is in place as construction crews prepare to start excavating the hillside near Gorgoza Park to make way for the Woodward Park City action-sports camp, slated for the land adjacent to the tubing hill near Interstate 80.
Crews are in the process of removing the parking lot below the tubing hill, and stakes are placed up the hillside to outline where a four-person chairlift will be located. Demolition started on Sept. 7, but the construction is expected to begin in earnest this week.
“It’s mostly excitement that we are experiencing right now of bringing this transformation to what is already a great tubing area,” said Shaydar Edelmann, general manager of Woodward Park City.
Woodward Park City will serve athletes in several different sports, including skiing, snowboarding, gymnastics, skateboarding and BMX freestyle bicycling. It will include a more-than-52,000-square-foot action-sports center and several outdoor enhancements for riding and teaching terrain that will be serviced by the chair lift.
The project, though, was controversial during its planning stage. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission approved the indoor/outdoor facility in early 2018 after spending more than a year reviewing the project’s design. Powdr Corp., the company that applied for the conditional-use permit, currently operates five Woodward Camps throughout the United States.
The Summit County Council later upheld the permit, collectively denying three applications that appealed the Planning Commission’s decision. Two of the appeals claimed the project was approved under the wrong process, while the third accused the commission of failing to impose reasonable conditions to reduce the impacts of sound and lighting.
The period to appeal the County Council’s decision in Utah’s 3rd District Court has lapsed. The only way to stop the project at this point would be an injunction, according to Community Development Director Pat Putt.
“We’ve appreciated their point of view and appreciate their input during the approvals process,” Edelmann said. “But, we have been transparent and upfront throughout the entire multi-year process. We are incredibly excited to be able to move forward for the families and kids who are excited as well. Every day someone stops me and thanks me for bringing Woodward here. That is our focus.”
The tubing hill at Gorgoza Park will be closed this season, and several other impacts are expected throughout the area while the camp is under construction, Edelmann said. The Gorgoza Park trailhead parking lot access will be restricted later this fall, and temporary restrictions on some of the trails that bypass the property are planned as they are moved further up the mountain. The pond will remain accessible.
“We looked really closely at all of the options we had and seriously considered ways to keep the tubing hill open, but we found that closing for the season was the best solution to get us open for the next winter,” he said. “Understandably, people will be upset. But, we are focused on the fact that we will bring tubing back at Woodward Park City for a much better experience.”
Edelmann said people can expect to see construction equipment at the site moving materials, but he didn’t anticipate “a lot of coming and going.” He said it should be a relatively low impact to those in the surrounding area, with temporary restrictions around the construction zone.
“We’re pushing as hard as we can to get some concrete poured and continuing over the winter so we can be ready to open next winter,” he said.
Woodward Park City is scheduled to open for the 2019-2020 winter season.
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Thanks to COVID-19 cutting into visitation numbers, Park City’s seasonal workforce is sufficient. In any other winter, “the hiring situation would be dire.”