Park City cops jammed: holiday week, heat wave and big events soon
Start with a holiday week. Add a heat wave. Throw in a series of special events.
And then watch as the crowds, and the problems they cause, swell in Park City.
The Park City Police Department last week appeared to have been especially busy as officers dealt with numerous problems attributed to the large numbers of people in the community. The agency’s call volume typically increases during the busy tourism times, and officers last week were hopping as they moved from one disturbance to the next.
The cases did not appear to be serious, but they illustrate how busy Park City was at certain times and the impact the crowds can have in the Main Street core and in the outlying neighborhoods.
The Police Department received complaints about parties across the community through much of the week. Some were in the overnight hours while others were during the evening. There were also complaints filed about the volume of music. The Police Department classified many of the cases as suspected disturbing the peace, a broad category that covers many of the shenanigans that can occur at Park City parties.
“There were a lot of people in town. It was a busy time and has been for quite a while now,” Phil Kirk, a police captain, said.
In one of the cases, at 7:55 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, the police were called to a location on Sidewinder Drive, where “extremely loud music” was heard, according to department logs. The music may have been from a hotel, the police were told. The police also that day, at 2:36 a.m., responded to a complaint about a party with music and screaming people on Park Avenue. The day before, Saturday, July 27, the police were told of a party, described as large, on Empire Club Drive. The police were told youngsters were present who did not live in the building.
Other complaints were reported on streets like Meadows Drive, Kearns Boulevard, Three Kings Drive, Silver Strike Trail and Stonebridge Circle.
Kirk said the special events drew people to Park City, Pioneer Day was busy and people who live along the Wasatch Front escaped to higher elevations as temperatures soared in the Salt Lake Valley through much of July.
“With a lot of people in town, it does bring issues,” Kirk said.
The string of complaints last week highlight the long-running conflict between the business desires of the Park City tourism industry for large crowds spending money and the desires of many rank-and-file Parkites for peacefulness. It has been a delicate issue for City Hall for years as leaders attempt to balance the various interests. The week of Pioneer Day, though, seemed to test the patience of many amid the partying, traffic backups and other annoyances.
The reports also were filed just before what is expected to be another jammed stretch for the tourism industry. The Park City Kimball Arts Festival is slated this weekend. The Tour of Utah bicycling race arrives for the final stage on Aug. 18. The arts festival and the Tour of Utah are two of the largest events of the summer, usually drawing tens of thousands of people to the Main Street core during the days and leading to larger numbers of people out in the nighttime.
Kirk said the Police Department is readying for the two events, describing that additional officers will be on duty for the arts festival and the bicycling race. The organizers craft plans with City Hall in an attempt to reduce the impacts, but numerous issues typically arise regardless of the work prior to the events.
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Park City’s elected officials next week are scheduled to receive a briefing about the upcoming 2020 census. The census results are used for a variety of purposes, including funding formulas and crafting legislative and congressional districts boundaries.