Park City readies canvas for arts and culture district
Input sought as the planning continues
Park City officials on Thursday are scheduled to continue to discuss the idea to create an arts and culture district, offering an opportunity to listen to City Hall staffers as well as a consultant retained by the municipal government describe the prospects of transforming Bonanza Park into the new district.
The event on Thursday is one of the steps City Hall will take in coming months as leaders decide whether to finalize a $19.5 million acquisition of 5.25 acres in Bonanza Park that would house the arts and culture district.
Mayor Jack Thomas and Nate Rockwood, who is the capital budget, debt and grants manager for City Hall, will appear with consultant Duncan Webb. He specializes in the arts and culture fields. Webb was retained to study the concept of an arts and culture district in Park City. The mayor is expected to provide an overview while Rockwood will address the timeline. The event will also include a question-and-answer session.
The acquisition of the Bonanza Park acreage is expected to close by Jan. 31, but City Hall pledged to conduct a public process in the months between the announcement of the deal in July and the closing. The Thursday event is the first open house centered on an arts and culture district. Additional gatherings will be planned as well, including one that is scheduled in late November. There will also eventually be open houses as designs are crafted.
The acquisition would involve a patchwork of parcels under the ownership of the Bonanza Park partnership of Mark J. Fischer and John Paul DeJoria. The parcels run from the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive to the Kimball Art Center and stretch inward from the Kearns Boulevard-Bonanza Drive intersection. The Bonanza Park partnership previously sought to redevelop the land with an ambitious project of residences and retailers. The partnership encountered resistance as issues like the height of the buildings and the proposed road network were debated. It was not clear what sort of project would be approved. The partnership later began the discussions with City Hall about selling the land.
Officials envision the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute’s Utah headquarters will anchor an arts and culture district. Both of the organizations have signaled their interest in the district. The Kimball Art Center’s interest is especially notable. The organization is housed in temporary quarters along Kearns Boulevard while its leadership considers options for a permanent facility after selling the Kimball Art Center’s longtime building in Old Town as a result of a dispute with City Hall about the designs of an expansion. The Sundance Institute, meanwhile, keeps its Utah headquarters at Silver Star on the edge of Thaynes Canyon.
Officials have said a Sundance project could involve 45,000 square feet while a Kimball Art Center building could be sized at between 30,000 and 45,000 square feet. Leaders from the two organizations could attend the event on Thursday, but they are not expected to make presentations.
City Hall’s plans for an arts and culture district are expected to be closely watched by Kimball Art Center and Sundance supporters as well as the wider community of arts lovers. But they will probably also be monitored by people who live or have interests in the vicinity of Bonanza Park. The level of resistance to the Bonanza Park partnership’s plans will likely not arise as the arts and culture district is debated, but worries regarding traffic and the design of buildings could be revisited since the land borders some of Park City’s busiest streets.
The event on Thursday is scheduled from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Park City – The Yarrow at 1800 Park Ave. City Hall would like attendees to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-5189.
Speaking with The Park Record, several council members expressed a desire for better lines of communication with the mayor’s office. The mayor provided a statement saying she believes councilor Rachel Kahler wants to control her office.
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