Main Street taps City Hall veteran to lead merchant group |

Main Street taps City Hall veteran to lead merchant group

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Main Street has tapped a veteran of City Hall to lead the group that represents the street’s interests, putting someone with insider knowledge of the workings of the municipal government into the key position.

Alison Butz held three posts at City Hall over two stints with the local government in the 1990s and the 2000s before taking a job overseeing the sports programming at the Utah Olympic Park.

She starts her Main Street position on March 1. She will be the executive director of the Historic Main Street Business Alliance, the lobbying group that monitors City Hall decisions that could impact the street.

"Main Street is a part of the community. To be involved with it is the interest," Butz said.

The executive director post is a part-time position, entailing between 20 and 25 hours each week. Butz replaces Sandy Geldhof, who had stepped down from the position.

Butz, who is 35 years old and lives in Prospector, has lived in Park City since 1996. Her City Hall career included holding the diverse positions of a planner, special-events manager and environmental manager.

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The planner and special-events manager positions are especially noteworthy entries on her resume as she prepares for the Main Street job. As a planner, Butz was assigned issues such as City Hall’s sign code and outdoor music stages, two topics that heavily involved Main Street.

"I have knowledge of government processes and how things work," Butz said, mentioning her understanding of City Hall’s budgeting procedures, the way special events are managed and how capital projects are decided.

She said she also maintains working relationships with many City Hall staffers.

Butz arrives at the business alliance at a pivotal time for Main Street as it faces widening competition from outlying shopping districts like Redstone Towne Center and Newpark. The newer places are believed to have especially drawn people from the Snyderville Basin who in the past might have headed to Main Street.

The business alliance has organized a series of events and programs meant to draw people to the street, including creating a gift card.

Her tenure, meanwhile, will begin in the weeks after a drawn-out dispute about the future of the Park Silly Sunday Market that exposed a rift between the businesses on the street, particularly between those on the upper stretch of Main Street and those closer to the Silly Market’s staging grounds on lower Main Street.

Silly Market organizers considered moving the weekly summer and fall bazaar elsewhere, but it appears that City Hall and the organizers will strike an accord as early as next week.

Butz is hesitant to discuss topics like the Silly Market until she starts the job and consults with the business alliance leaders.

Mary Black, the acting president of the business alliance and the owner of the clothing store Hilda, said Butz’s ties in Park City were an important factor in her hiring. Black said Butz is personable and communicates well. Butz is a "terrific addition," Black said.

"It was a wise choice to have someone who knows people," Black said.

At City Hall, meanwhile, Jon Weidenhamer, a staffer who works closely with Main Street, said Butz’s background with the local government will be of assistance as the two sides continue talking.

He said he met with Butz since her hiring to discuss topics like Main Street’s priorities and the role City Hall would have in them.

"Alison understands the process up here and how we get things done," Weidenhamer said.