Park City arts fest, possibly becoming a free event, renews talks with City Hall
Park City Kimball Arts Festival organizers and City Hall leaders on Thursday are scheduled to discuss the plans to turn the annual summertime gathering on Main Street into a free event, an idea that is designed to offer admission to a broader group of people.
The admission has been priced at $15. The Kimball Art Center, the not-for-profit organization that puts on the event as its key fundraiser, has indicated the admission charge is prohibitive to some potential festival-goers. The organization has also said many businesses along Main Street oppose the admission charge.
The Park City Council addressed the issue at a meeting late in 2019 and is scheduled to continue the talks with the Kimball Art Center on Thursday. There appeared to be support at the earlier meeting for eliminating the admission charge. City councilors said eliminating the charge would reduce conflicts with businesses along Main Street and could lead to a more diverse crowd.
The leader of the Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses on or just off Main Street, at the meeting in late 2019 said festival crowds could have more money to spend at the businesses if the event was free.
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The Kimball Art Center, in an effort to recoup some of the revenues lost by eliminating the admission charge, wants to increase the footprint of the event to allow artist booths on 9th Street. Some of the discussion on Thursday is expected to center on the increased footprint.
The Kimball Art Center has projected attendance would increase by 10% if the admission charge is dropped. City Hall, however, disagrees with the projection, arguing the attendance numbers could grow by a more substantial figure. A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the City Council meeting on Thursday argues the 10% projected increase calculated by the Kimball Art Center is “too conservative,” describing the possibility of an attendance increase in the range of 25% to 30%. The attendance projections are important as City Hall crafts a plan for public services required for the event.
“In addition, staff is concerned that if attendance rises too quickly, locals will decrease participation because of the size of the crowds and associated traffic and congestion,” the report says.
The discussion about the festival is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. in the City Council chambers at the Marsac Building and last 45 minutes.
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