Main Street: construction zone | ParkRecord.com

Main Street: construction zone

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Tourism promoters like to trumpet summertime on Main Street as a quaint, pleasurable experience — perhaps a stroll through the boutiques and galleries or a nice meal.

They don’t put backhoes, construction workers and cement trucks in the brochures.

Summer 2007, though, is expected to be one of the busiest construction seasons on Main Street in years, with projects stretching almost the entire length of the shopping, dining and entertainment hotspot.

"Tourists love this stuff, construction. They’ll take photos of it," says Park City Engineer Eric DeHaan, who delivered to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council a list of projects planned on or near Main Street in 2007. "None of this is going to scare anybody away."

DeHaan, who is influential as City Hall considers ways to reduce construction impacts, notes smaller projects, like putting up a building toward the top of Main Street, will join the large ones, such as the continuing construction of the Sky Lodge.

DeHaan also notes state transportation officials plan to repave Deer Valley Drive and a dump-truck operation is scheduled on the road to remove contaminated soils from Empire Pass.

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"This is sort of what economic development looks like," DeHaan says.

He says Park City Museum officials might start a significant expansion and, in the fall, work to overhaul the Main Street Mall might start. DeHaan says crews working on the mall might stage from Park Avenue.

In his report to the elected officials, DeHaan says the projects "guarantee a heavy traffic load on S.R. 224 all summer long" and Swede Alley will be busy as well.

Meanwhile, DeHaan says some of the parking spots on Swede Alley will be fenced off to put up the building at 460 Swede Alley. Some spots in the Brew Pub lot at the top of Main Street could be fenced off through Christmas to store materials for the buildings at 260 Main St. and 205 Main St.

Park City is enjoying a hot economy, with record-setting construction numbers and hoards of tourists visiting during the ski season. Summertime business is expanding also. The investment on Main Street is an indicator that the private sector expects the boom to continue.

Main Street has stayed a strong business district even as competition has increased, including from shopping centers like Redstone Towne Center at Kimball Junction and the emerging North of Main district along Bonanza Drive.

The street features some of Park City’s most popular nightclubs and restaurants and many of the shops and galleries are unique to Main Street.

Ken Davis, who leads the Main Street merchants, predicts the upcoming construction will not doom the street. He says the expanded China Bridge garage will make up for some of the spots lost temporarily to the construction. Davis says people are used to construction.

"Any place I’ve gone, it’s a construction zone," Davis says, noting, especially, Miami and Chicago. "The whole country is in the middle of a building boom."

Davis expects Main Street this year will enjoy one of its busiest summers but acknowledges high gas prices might bring down the numbers. He says people from the Salt Lake Valley and visitors from outside of Utah will frequent the street.

"People will see this town is going well. It’s exciting to see all the buildings being built," Davis says, adding, "The last thing you want to do is see a downtown area where nothing’s happening."