Park City intends to move giant Olympic-era torch sculpture
Park City is preparing for another leg in a torch relay of sorts that dates to the era of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
A giant sculpture of a torch, created by artist Bill Kranstover as the Games approached, first resided along Main Street and was moved to the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive years later.
As City Hall readies to develop an arts and culture district along the two roads, stretching inward from the intersection, the sculpture must be moved again. A City Hall panel known as the Public Art Advisory Board at a meeting earlier in the week recommended the sculpture, which is owned by the municipal government, be moved to a nearby location at 1251 Kearns Blvd. The sculpture would remain under the ownership of City Hall and maintenance would remain the responsibility of the municipality. It would be put in a location where it remains visible to the public. The 1251 Kearns Blvd. owner would fund the move.
The Park City Council is expected to consider the move at a meeting in October.
The sculpture was originally installed outside the building along Main Street that at the time housed the Kimball Art Center. It stood above the high-profile intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue during the Olympics and then for years afterward, becoming a landmark on the shopping, dining and entertainment strip.
The Kimball Art Center eventually considered development options for the property, with the deck where the torch sculpture was located being prime ground in any expansion of the organization’s building. The Kearns Boulevard-Bonanza Drive intersection, one of the busiest in Park City, was ultimately selected as the next location for the sculpture. It has stood there for nearly a decade. The Kimball Art Center opted to sell the Old Town property instead of pursuing its own development there, and the buyer has since put up a building on the land where the sculpture once was located.
City Hall holds plans to develop an arts and culture district and is making a series of moves in preparation for the commencement of the major work. Buildings will be demolished and then the arts and culture district, expected to be anchored by the Kimball Art Center and the Utah headquarters of the Sundance Institute, will be built. The sculpture’s current location at the intersection is within the footprint of the arts and culture district.
The land at 1251 Kearns Blvd., known as the location of The Yard, is under the ownership of a business entity involving Mark J. Fischer and John Paul DeJoria. A representative of the business entity, Mike Sweeney, addressed the Public Art Advisory Board, saying it is important that the sculpture remain. He called it “kind of like a beacon” as he noted the plans to develop an arts and culture district. Sweeney said the sculpture would work in a spot so close to the district.
The 1251 Kearns Blvd. location would ensure one of the largest physical legacies from the Olympic era remains visible. The sculpture and the Olympic Welcome Plaza at the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Park Avenue are two of the most prominent physical Games reminders inside Park City.
The Park City area hosted upward of half of the competitions during the Olympics while Main Street was turned into a pedestrian-only celebration zone for the Games. The sculpture was seen by the masses in 2002 and for years afterward highlighted the importance of arts to the community. It also served a more utilitarian role as a meeting point along Main Street.
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