Mountain Town Stages loses venue |

Mountain Town Stages loses venue

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff

City Hall reports Mountain Town Stage’s bandstand at 890 Main St., located between the lower Main Street restaurants Mustang and Fiore, will be dismantled within the next few weeks.

The stage is one of three on Main Street and last summer hosted live musical acts on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The loss of the stage means cutting 24 gigs, according to Mountain Town Stages executive director Toby Martin.

Martin said he has been in negotiations trying to save the stage for two months, but with little success.

"[Park City] Council worked hard to put that stage there and to support lower Main Street," he said. "And here we are in June and the music is supposed to start in two weeks."

Ric Hales, owner of Fiore, likewise hoped to keep the stage.

In warmer months, Hales seats 100 diners outside, and most would ask to be seated outdoors to listen to the music.

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"It was very good for Fiore and was very good for that end of the plaza it’s kind of a very quiet place and the music brought life into the corner," he said. "As I understand it, it was the first of the Mountain Town Stages that started it all."

But Hollie Stray-Gunderson, spokeswoman for Triple Net, Ltd., the property manager for the Village on Main, said other tenants in the lower Main Street plaza, including Mustang owner Bill Hufferd, wanted the stage removed.

While Hufferd enjoyed the atmosphere created by the music, he argued the stage obstructed his restaurant.

"We had to look at what works for all of our tenants as a whole, because our tenants are who we report to and who we have to please," Stray-Gunderson explained.

Though in earlier years tenants welcomed the Mountain Town Stages venue, some newer renters haven’t benefited from it in the same way, she claimed. The stage blocks some of the Mustang’s view, she said, and some of the musical acts have not been conducive to the leisurely dinners that patrons hope to experience at the restaurant.

"We love Mountain Town Stages, but it just wasn’t working for the Mustang down there, so at this point, the stage will be moved somewhere else," Stray-Gunderson said.

She said Village on Main will continue to host Mountain Town Stages acts on the southern half of the plaza, at a smaller stage on 710 Main St. near La Casita Restaurant.

La Casita owner Alberto Martinez, like Hales, said live music attracts business, especially for restaurants, like his, with outdoor seating.

"The stage is important to us it brings us customers," he said. "Business wasn’t bad for us before, but it made our summers better."

And that was the original intent, Park City’s Manager Tom Bakaly recalls.

"The [Park City] Council and the mayor wanted to put the stages in place to do what was best for the businesses to bring some vibrancy to the area," he said.

Old Town’s bandstands for Mountain Town Stages were part of a Park City Arts Council grant. Each was designed through a University of Utah architecture program supervised by local architect and professor Hank Louis beginning in 2000.

At the time, businesses rallied their support around the project.

"Years ago, that lower Main Street area had different restaurants," Bakaly remembered. "The owners of those restaurants really wanted the music at the time, and wanted the stages and council went through a process," he said.

Ultimately, whether any stages remain in Old Town is up to nearby businesses and property owners, Bakaly said, and not City Hall.

He said Mountain Town Stages would be responsible for taking the 890 Main stage down and relocating it to a storage area, and that the city would offer additional help if necessary.

According to Bakaly, the city was notified that the stage would be removed a week ago.

The disassembled bandstand might be used later, but he suspects it will remain in storage for this year.

"The stages are specifically conditioned in city ordinances as to where they can be located as far as sound impacts. For right now, unless the ordinances are amended and there aren’t any plans to do that the stage won’t go up anywhere else," Bakaly said.