Kimball Junction area to get a facelift
The Kimball Junction Neighborhood Master Planning Committee revealed its suggestions to the Summit County Council last week to overhaul the area, re-establishing a more traditional street that isn’t dominated by large areas of asphalt and increasing connectivity throughout the area. Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt said the Kimball Junction area is a critical and fundamental neighborhood in the Snyderville Basin. He said it serves as a portal into the broader community.
“How it functions, what it looks like and how it continues to evolve is really important,” he said to the County Council during the Feb. 7 meeting.
Kimball Junction has burgeoned into a bustling commercial and residential area over the last 15 years. It attracts a significant amount of daily pedestrian and vehicle traffic, with businesses incorporated throughout residential neighborhoods. However, leaders have repeatedly said one of the area’s downsides is its lack of a comprehensive plan that cohesively ties the area together on both the east and west sides of S.R. 224.
Last year, Summit County created a Blue Ribbon Citizen’s Advisory Committee to develop a preliminary neighborhood master plan. The planning area included Redstone, Fox Pointe, Newpark, the Village at Kimball Junction, Park City Tech Center, High Bluffs (which includes Walmart), Canyon Corners, Tanger Outlets and other small commercial developments.
For nearly a year, the committee explored land use, neighborhood connectivity and wayfinding, transportation, transit and parking, and plan implementation strategies to come up with a “Top 10 List” of ways to improve the area.
The list includes enhancements such as: make visual quality a top priority; re-establish a traditional street and building environment; and create predicable, safe, and visually-pleasing pedestrian and bicycle connections between residences, businesses, amenity areas, and open spaces. Several of the other ideas listed addressed creating mixed-uses, an enhanced civic center and improving regional traffic flow on S.R. 224.
Committee member Chris Connabee said the Kimball Junction area represents a “piecemeal development that has gone on for decades.”
“We have an opportunity to take a crack at this and use it as an anchor to fix other pieces,” he said. “We helped set a new vision. We looked at parking plans, parks and a little more development in terms of housing and mixed-use commercial. The big problem that will always be there is the separation of flow-through traffic from local traffic.”
Committee member Destry Pollard, who is also the operations team leader for Park City Transit, said he wants the county to explore the suggestions that can be implemented within the next year, which he sees as tackling the “low hanging fruit.”
“Is there an opportunity where there is an incentive that could go to the owner of a property to do a parking structure or additional retail?” he said. “Maybe we could even create a civic center in Kimball Junction that would serve as a focal point that brings people in.”
Chris Retzer, who also served on the committee, suggested starting with the enhancements that would be relatively low in cost to put in place, such as wayfinding.
“Creating connectivity through the junction is really simple and a very low hanging fruit,” he said.
The committee, which also includes county staffers, agreed to begin implementing wayfinding methods to improve the connectivity in the junction. Putt said the next steps will be refining land-use scenarios and receiving input from community stakeholders and the public.
“If we are successful, we can create an incredible neighborhood and we create a very viable neighborhood,” he said. “We have the possibility of that.”
Our view: The somewhat skeptical reaction to the news among residents shows the care the developer must take to ensure the project aligns with Parkites’ vision for the community.