Park City mayor asserts arts district will not compete with Main Street
Main Street has long had at least some concern when developers talk about building commercial projects in outlying areas.
The shopping, dining and entertainment strip for decades had limited competition, allowing the Main Street core to become central to the Park City tourism experience as well as a place that regularly draws people from Park City, the surrounding area and the Wasatch Front.
City Hall, though, is preparing to develop an arts and culture district a short distance away from Main Street, just off the intersection of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard. There will be commercial space in the district in addition to headquarters for arts and culture institutions, leading to some talk about the possibility of the district eventually competing with Main Street.
Mayor Andy Beerman in a recent online appearance discussing the arts and culture district argued the development would not grow to become a competitor to Main Street. He made just brief comments about the topic, but they were notable as the municipal government presses ahead with the efforts to develop the district.
Speaking in response to a question about the impact the arts and culture district would have on Main Street, Beerman described that the development would work well alongside the commercial core of Main Street. He said the district could eventually reduce some of the stress of special events on Main Street. He did not provide specifics, but Main Street has traditionally been the location of large events like the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, and there have been questions over time about the impacts of Main Street events on surrounding Old Town.
“Our hope (is) that this arts and culture district will not compete but will complement Main Street. We’re not trying to turn it into a commercial district. It will be a home to many of our nonprofits and a community gathering point. In some ways we hope that it will draw some of the pressure of events off of Main Street, which has become controversial,” Beerman said.
City Hall is continuing to consider many of the detailed plans for the arts and culture district, and it appears the project is not designed to be a generalized commercial location similar to Main Street or the Prospector business district across Bonanza Drive. Instead, the mayor said, leaders want to “very much limit the commercialism here.” He said, as an example, the district is not envisioned as a “hub for a bunch of art galleries.” Beerman, rather, said the district could offer an artist-in-residence program with working studios.
“There may be some opportunities to purchase art here, but that will not be the focus,” the mayor said.
Main Street, meanwhile, is seen as one of the state’s top art marketplaces, offering a clutch of galleries selling works by state, national and international artists as well as some pieces from the masters.
He also mentioned the possibility of a community kitchen and, possibly, small cafes.
“We are very deliberately trying not to compete with Main Street,” Beerman said.
The mayor’s comments were delivered as officials ready the paperwork to develop an arts and culture district. The municipal government is expected to file an application shortly, triggering a review by the Park City Planning Commission. The talks at the Planning Commission will likely focus on issues like traffic and the layout of the project. The Planning Commission itself typically does not spend significant time on a topic like competition between commercial districts, but the public could broach that sort of idea as the application is processed.
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A member of the Park City Planning Commission for at least the second time in less than a year spoke publicly about a concept that would financially involve City Hall in a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort. Planning Commissioner John Phillips did not address the concept in any depth during a lengthy meeting.