Park City business group opts against expanding Main Street pedestrian days to Saturdays
The leadership of the group that represents businesses in the Main Street core on Tuesday voted against seeking an expansion of the pedestrian days on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip to include Saturdays, an idea that split the membership of the Historic Park City Alliance.
The organization’s board of directors decided it did not want to pursue talks with City Hall about turning Main Street into a pedestrian zone on Saturdays as a widening of a program that debuted this year on Sundays. The Sunday pedestrian days are designed to create an attractive atmosphere and better allow for social distancing.
Some, though, wanted the pedestrian days to cover Saturdays in addition to Sundays as Main Street continues to attempt to recover from a spring downturn caused by the closures amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Alison Kuhlow, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said a survey of the organization’s membership taken prior to the vote on Tuesday showed 53% of the respondents opposed the expansion of the pedestrian days to include Saturdays.
Kuhlow said the board of directors expressed worries about Saturday pedestrian days potentially “watering down the Sundays.” She also said there was concern about the impacts of another pedestrian day each week on restaurants that offer curbside pickup on Main Street. Kuhlow, meanwhile, said the organization acknowledged that the Sunday pedestrian days have not led to a dramatic increase in sales across sectors.
The board of directors, though, is interested in Saturday pedestrian days on certain weekends. Kuhlow said the Saturdays discussed are those when there would have otherwise been special events planned, prior to a series of cancellations based on concern about holding events amid the spread of the sickness. They possibly include the Saturdays on upcoming weekends when the Park City Kimball Arts Festival and the Tour of Utah bicycling race would have been held.
The Historic Park City Alliance leadership also showed an interest in extending the pedestrian Sundays through the fall, perhaps until late October. The pedestrian days are currently approved to run through early September.
The Park City Council would need to approve any changes to the program. Kuhlow said the Historic Park City Alliance expects to discuss the specific Saturdays and the extension into the fall with the elected officials at a meeting sometime in August.
The pedestrian days have drawn crowds to Main Street, but it has seemed that spending has been mixed. Some of the restaurants have appeared to be busy on the pedestrian days even as shopping in stores has looked to be light at many points on those days. Many of the attendees have appeared to see the pedestrian days as a time to meet friends and socialize rather than an opportunity to shop.
The pedestrian days are one of the steps in a broader plan by the Historic Park City Alliance stretching for months to reignite sales in the summer and prepare for the upcoming ski season, expected to start in November and the most lucrative time of the year.
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Summit County heard from the Park City Community Foundation that the county’s $1 million grant last year likely helped hundreds of people avoid homelessness. The nonprofit’s representatives said open lines of communication were key to ensuring that grant money went where it was needed. | Courtesy of the Park City Community Foundation