Guest Editorial, March 17-20, 2012
March 17, 2012
I have been walking and driving Main Street since 1963, when I lived in the current Roots Building. In 1969, I did a Main Street project as part of my master’s degree at the University of Utah. Every time I visit our beautiful Main Street, I realize what a treasure we have. The City Council, the City Planning Commission, and the Historic Preservation Board have worked diligently over the years to protect and preserve the Park City Historic District.
While riding the local ski lifts, I get to talk to Park City visitors from around the country and the world. Many of them mention the historic mining town as one of their main reasons for coming to Park City. In the summer, I guide Main Street tours and frequently ask visitors to pick out the most authentic buildings and the most out-of-place buildings. Take a walk on Main Street some day and try it for yourself. Then visit the Kimball Art Center and view the drawings of the projected addition and add it to one of the two categories.
In my opinion we already have too may dogs (out-of-place buildings) on Main Street. Surely there is a better place for "Fort Bridger," the Kimball Art Center addition. Perhaps the Raleigh Studio could use it as a set for its next great Western. It might even look good in downtown Cheyenne or Copenhagen. But an 80-foot pile of logs certainly does not fit in the center of historic Park City.
Relating it to the Coalition Building is a poor attempt to get around the city building codes. Historic Main Street would lose its identity as one of the only authentic mining-town business districts in the world. There are already buildings on Main Street that should not have been allowed, but that does not mean we should continue adding structures that do not fit.
Two things really disappoint me about this whole design process. First, that a board of local residents who have traversed Main Street for years and should have full knowledge of our building codes gave architectural firms only five weeks and no guidance to design an addition. Second, that those architectural firms which submitted plans for the new addition apparently did not look up and down Main Street, not did they bother to read the city building codes and guidelines for new construction (or they chose to blatantly disregard them?).
It is unfortunate that one arrogant art expert chose to belittle the opinion of a well-respected local regarding the Kimball addition. The Kimball board is actively soliciting opinions of the new addition, and we should all feel free to express ourselves regardless of our art credentials.
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I recommend that the Kimball board reject the BIG proposal and start over. You cannot modify "Fort Bridger" enough to make it compatible with our existing historic Main Street. Next time, tell the architects to take a walk up Main Street and read the city building codes. Then design an addition that will enhance the historic value of Main Street and pass muster with the HPB, Planning Commission and City Council. We don’t need another dog on Main Street.
Park City resident Jim Tedford is a former ski bum who cares.