Main Street wants new soundtrack |

Main Street wants new soundtrack

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The Main Street soundtrack — revelers having fun, drivers slowly making their way up and down the street and the music spilling from the nightclubs — is fine as it is, officials have determined.

The Park City Council recently indicated it did not want to spend money to put in a sound system on Main Street, a decision that effectively dooms the idea backed by the street’s leadership.

The Historic Main Street Business Alliance had approached City Hall with the idea for the speakers, which the street’s leaders argued would be a festive addition to Main Street. They also said the speakers could have been used if an emergency arose. The speakers would have been placed on Main Street lampposts.

Sandy Geldhof, who is the executive director of the business alliance, a merchant group, said prior to the recent City Council meeting the sound system would be especially welcomed during the holidays. She said the sound system could broadcast music for the holiday crowds.

Park City leaders and regular Parkites would discuss what should be played outside the holidays, she suggested. The holidays are typically a busy period, with crowds of skiers usually arriving by mid-December. Main Street is also a popular with holiday shoppers.

Geldhof said the sound system would have benefited crowds at events on Main Street, which she said number more than 80 each year. She said it could have been used during the Kimball Arts Festival, at the Park Silly Sunday Market and the Independence Day parade. The speakers could have played music from a satellite-radio service, she said.

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During the recent discussion with Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council, Main Street leaders spoke about what they saw as the benefits to public safety and the atmosphere of the street. They said the sound system would be crucial during an emergency, but it could also broadcast the holiday music. They said, though, they did not want music playing all the time.

The merchants group said the sound system would cost $118,880.

City Councilors were hesitant, though, with Candy Erickson calling the idea "Disneyland-esque." City Hall has been worried for years that Main Street could resemble in some ways big theme parks like Disneyland. There have been long-running efforts to preserve a mining-town feel to the street.

Jim Hier, another City Councilor, doubted the assertions about the sound system being important to public safety during an emergency, saying the merchant group is more interested in piping in music. He indicated it was not worth spending City Hall money on the sound system.

The merchants, meanwhile, also want to decorate buildings on Main Street, Heber Avenue, a small stretch of Park Avenue close to the Town Bridge with white lights. They say the lights would add to the holiday atmosphere. The City Councilors asked for more information about the lights and spoke about whether City Hall should own them. The lights and installation are projected to cost $258,675.

The business alliance is seeking a $240,000 loan from City Hall and wants the local government to contribute another $29,000. Officials have not rendered a decision, and City Hall staffers have not made a recommendation about the financial request. The city’s annual budget talks are starting soon. There was concern, though, on Thursday night that City Hall cannot provide an interest-free loan, which the Main Street leaders have requested.

The upcoming budget talks are expected to be some of the most difficult in years, as officials divvy up money during a recession.

The business alliance on Wednesday is scheduled to hold an important meeting at the Kimball Art Center. The discussions with City Hall will likely be broached. The meeting runs from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.