Huge and loud, they must be the president’s choppers
Five large helicopters flew over Old Town and Deer Valley on Sunday, preparations for President Bush’s planned fundraising trip to Park City this week.
They were painted in the traditional colors of Marine One, the president’s helicopter. They curved from Old Town toward lower Deer Valley, appearing to be headed in the direction of the Solamere neighborhood where Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2002 Winter Olympic chief, owns a house. Romney is hosting Bush for a Wednesday fundraiser.
Park City Police Chief Lloyd Evans said the Secret Service notified the Police Department of the flights at 5 p.m. Evans said he assumes the helicopter pilots were familiarizing themselves with the route.
Evans said he saw the helicopters flying above Kimball Junction as they were traveling into Park City.
"It was a single movement, as we understand it," the police chief said.
Helicopter flights in the Park City area are usually limited to air ambulances, ski-lift installations and helicopter-skiing tours. It is rare to see a squadron of helicopters, though.
Paul Tan, who lives in Prospector, said people in the neighborhood went outside as the helicopters flew overhead.
"You didn’t hear them, you felt them," he said.
Tan skateboarded to Treasure Mountain International School and watched the helicopters land on the baseball field.
"You get a feel for the show of strength your government can have," he said.
The Police Department said the landing required a 10-minute closure of a nearby stretch of S.R. 248.
Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said Tuesday the police were unsure if roads will be closed temporarily while Bush is in Park City.
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Park City on Tuesday hosted an open house designed to provide information about a wide range of municipal projects and programs, but the event took on greater meaning with the gathering becoming among the largest City Hall-organized events held in person in the more than a year.