Park City readies for Main Street march against gun violence
March 20, 2018
More than 1,000 people could march against gun violence in Park City on Saturday, a demonstration that will likely be one of the largest of the year as students and adults rally in response to a string of terrible shootings in the U.S.
The March For Our Lives planned in Park City is part of a national day of similar events. The Park City Council at a recent meeting, to applause, approved a permit for the event after debating topics like the route of the march.
The elected officials agreed to allow the crowd to descend Main Street to 7th Street, where the marchers will take the Poison Creek trail to City Park. The event runs from 10 a.m. until noon. City Hall staffers had concerns about a Park Avenue route instead of the route to City Park on the Poison Creek trail, saying there would be more impacts on traffic and bus routes along Park Avenue.
Parking will be prohibited on Main Street starting at 8 a.m. with an expected return by 11 a.m. Parking for marchers will be available at Park City High School. The yellow bus line travels between Kearns Boulevard outside the high school and the Old Town transit center.
There was a group of students in the room as Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Councilors discussed the permit. The City Council ultimately cast a unanimous vote in favor of the permit after addressing the route and discussing whether to waive fees. The City Councilors agreed to waive up to $12,000 in fees the municipal government would otherwise charge the organizers for services like law enforcement. The student organizers in anticipation of the meeting submitted a one-page explanation of the request for the fee waiver, saying they did not have the funds to cover the fees since they are students.
Maya Levine, a Park City High School student who is one of the organizers, told the elected officials of the underlying goal of the event.
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"We should not feel unsafe going to school," Levine said.
Future Park City activist Angela Moschetta testified in favor of the event, saying the students provide hope for the future. She argued in favor of the waiver of the fees and wanted the march to be held in a visible location.
"Let them march in plain sight," Moschetta said.
The elected officials touched on issues related to the details of the event as well as broader topics. In one comment that was especially notable, Steve Joyce, a member of the City Council, said the approval of the route sets a precedent. He described that if a group that does not have the support of the elected officials, such as one promoting white supremacy, wants to march someday in a similar fashion there would be a precedent.
The attendance of March For Our Lives could rival the Respect Rally, held during the Sundance Film Festival, as the largest rally of the year. The Park City Police Department estimated the Respect Rally numbers at 2,500 while organizers put the figure at 4,000. The Respect Rally featured a roster of celebrity speakers in Park City for Sundance while the March For Our Lives is expected to draw a lineup of local speakers.