Park City prepares to let people inside the white barn
The door is open to the iconic white barn on Park City’s entryway.
The Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously agreed to modify a permit that governs events at the City Hall-owned McPolin Farm along the S.R. 224 entryway, voting to allow people inside the large barn on a monitored basis. The permit essentially allows the municipal government to take small groups of people — up to 25 at a time — on tours of the historic building.
City Hall in 2016 completed a major renovation of the building that addressed safety issues. The renovation provided officials the option to allow people inside for small events like those that are allowed under the modification approved by the Planning Commission. The barn is one of Park City’s most notable historic buildings, but the safety concerns prevented its use even as the surrounding open space drew recreation lovers throughout the year.
Nobody testified during a hearing prior to the Planning Commission vote. Planning Commissioners touched on issues like parking enforcement along S.R. 224 outside the farm and the details of the tours, but they did not hold a lengthy discussion.
The Friends of the Farm, a volunteer organization involved in crafting policies, supported the efforts to allow people inside. A member of the Friends of the Farm in attendance on Wednesday, George Hull, said in an interview the building was an “old, tumbled down dairy barn” prior to the renovation as he spoke about the work.
“The farm is clearly a community treasure. It is our intention to invite the community to enjoy it and learn about it.” Hull said, adding, “It’s the kind of place that makes you glad you live in Park City.”
The permit approved by the Planning Commission allows 12 City Hall-sponsored events per year. Each is limited to one day. Officials are planning three days of tours of the barn during the summer and fall. The dates are tentatively the second Friday of July, August and September. Two or three tours of up to 25 people will be scheduled each of the days. They will last approximately one hour. The tours in 2019 are seen as a pilot program. The tour days will count toward the 12-event cap. Other events like the annual Scarecrow Festival also count toward the cap.
Private events are not allowed under the permit.
Hull said the barn stands as the best known of Park City’s historic buildings in the decades after fire destroyed the silver mining-era Coalition Building in Old Town.
“It kind of took the place of the Coalition Building. … That’s the remaining obvious icon,” Hull said.
City Hall acquired the McPolin Farm in 1990, one of the municipal government’s early open space moves. Officials wanted to block development on the bucolic land in an effort to create a scenic respite between development in the Snyderville Basin and inside Park City itself.
The renovation of the barn was one of City Hall’s significant preservation projects. The work, importantly, greatly strengthened the structure’s skeleton with steel framing. It also replaced the roof and upgraded the foundation.
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