Leaving office Calvert hails Sundance deal
December 28, 2005
For Kay Calvert, the words ‘Sundance Film Festival’ would be put on the marquee if she were advertising her accomplishments during her term on the Park City Council.
Calvert steps off the City Council pleased that City Hall struck a long-term accord with the organizers of the Sundance Film Festival ensuring that the festival remains in Park City for potentially another 20 years. Calvert did not run for re-election to a second term in 2005 and her final meeting was last week. In an interview on Monday, Calvert said she is most proud that the government and Sundance reached an agreement. It guarantees that the festival is held in Park City until 2018 and includes an option for another 10 years. It also enables the Sundance Institute to relocate its Utah offices from Salt Lake to Park City. "It deepens the relationship with them. In my opinion, it’s truly an asset for Park City to have them headquartered here," Calvert said, noting that the Sundance deal advances what she sees as City Hall’s economic-development program. Calvert argues that the long-term deal benefits both sides and said the agreement, which was heavy with financial enticements for Sundance, was fair. The negotiations, she said, lasted about a year, ending when the agreement was approved in October. Had Sundance instead moved the festival to another city, Calvert said Parkites would have been displeased with the elected officials. "I think having Sundance in this community benefits this community tremendously," Calvert said. Calvert, who is 51 years old and lives in Thaynes Canyon, won a seat on the City Council in the contentious 2001 election, when preparations for the Winter Olympics and post-Sept. 11 worries dominated the campaign. Her term started a month before the Olympics. Since then, the City Council has been largely successful in its policies and controversies have seemed to be less bitter. Calvert describes the politics of the last four years as "kinder, gentler." Calvert, who is a business consultant and a former computer-industry executive, did not seek re-election to tend to her ailing father. She plans to seek a City Council spot again in 2007, though, when three seats are on the ballot. Another accomplishment she lists is a 99-year lease between City Hall and the Park City Historical Society, which allows the society to expand the Park City Museum on Main Street. The expanded museum, she predicts, fits into the government’s desire to attract tourists seeking cultural attractions. "It will get people on Main Street, believe me," she said. Toward the end of her term, the government and the Empire Pass developers began talks about the Montage, an upscale spa and hotel that is proposed for the Deer Valley project. Calvert urges that the Montage be approved, saying that, "there’s nothing like this" in Park City but acknowledges that it is difficult to predict if it will win a ‘Yea’ vote. She likens the Montage developers to Edgar Stern, Deer Valley’s patriarch. "I hope that we find a way to make this happen," Calvert said, predicting that the Montage will be attractive to summertime visitors as well as those traveling to Park City in the winter. "This is a destination spa." Calvert said she was unable to accomplish all her goals during her term, saying that she would have liked to strengthen City Hall’s relationship with the Kimball Art Center, for instance. She said the local government must be cautious with development at Quinn’s Junction and she hopes that the so-called NoMa shopping district is successful. NoMa, which stands for North of Main and encompasses businesses along Bonanza Drive, will not detract from Main Street, Park City’s most famous shopping street, Calvert predicts. She said the two destinations offer different experiences, predicting NoMa will attract Parkites and Main Street will draw lots of tourists. Calvert, when talking about her future, said she expects to remain visible and said finishing her City Council term will not end her activism. A spot on the City Council, she said, tops the other public-service positions she has held. "It’s . . . more fulfilling because it’s a broader job," she said.