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Numbers are only half the story

ANNA BLOOM Of the Record staff

According to the city’s finance department, it’s next to impossible to quantify the potential benefits the proposed hospital for Quinn’s Junction might bring. Should the city annex the project (that features a headquarters for the United States Ski Association), however, it is clear that there will be costs to the city. Park City Budget, Debt and Grants Department Manager Gary Hill estimates that it would cost Park City Municipal Corporation $90,000 in annual infrastructure costs and services over the 15-year period it would take to build the project. But he is quick to point out that the numbers crunched by the department cannot measure the un-quantifiable economic and intangible community benefits of the proposed IHC hospital and USSA facilities. City staff’s 59-paged fiscal impact report was included in Park City Council’s packet Thursday, Nov. 17, but discussion was short, perhaps due to the sheer volume of information, Park City Planning Director Patrick Putt speculated. The heavy report was the summary of nine meetings of The IHC Task Force that featured the details of proposed zoning, economic impacts and an access/traffic study.

Though few posed any questions, councilwoman Kay Calvert did make an observation.

"Is it consistent that build costs are always higher than the revenue it brings in?" she asked, "because that’s the impression that I get."

Hill, responded later that there are simply to many unknown benefits in the equation should the city annex the project. Visitors and employees of the hospital and USSA center will spend money at restaurants, hotels and shops. "Intangible" benefits would bring healthcare services in closer proximity, and the USSA training facility could bring Park City increased exposure.

The project could meet City Council Goals and Economic Development priorities of creating a world-class, multi-seasonal resort community, and enhancing the quality of life to create a great place for families to live.

"We can safely say that when the task force and staff looked at the information together, they found a negligible cost to the city that would be likely off-set to the benefits," Hill said. Even before unknowns are factored into the equation, the fiscal analysis report predicts that the hospital alone could bring $2.4 million in economic activity annually per year, along with 25 new jobs. The $90,000 annual cost to the city comes from the $1 million one-time cost to the city, plus the recurring cost per year ($54,000), minus the city tax revnue generated by the project. The task force’s report was a positive recommendation, according to Hill. In addition to the financial equations, city planners included their proposed zoning designation for the project designated as the "Community Transition" (CT) District a land management code created to preserve the character of an area’s existing open space and recreation land uses by clustering low-density development. The CT District would permit one unit of density per 20 acres, with bonus units awarded to projects that include, among other things, "green building" design principals, trail improvements, transit improvements, and dedication of additional land for public or quasi-public purposes. CT District projects also have a higher affordable housing component requirement they must provide five percent more affordable housing to off-set the impacts of the development. Zions Resort Banking President Becky Kearns, and chair of the IHC Hospital Board, reports that the affordable housing component will be included in the platt amendment. Kearns agreed to chair the board in the first place, because she sees the advantages of having a local hospital. "I’m one of the people who have had to drive children down this canyon in the middle of winter storm to a hospital in Salt Lake and I think that [given] the population that’s here and the needs of the people here, a hospital would provide them the resources and save them [the trip]," she said. The task force met again to review the Quinn’s Junction access/traffic report submitted by Horrocks Engineers


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