Park City still sees uncertain future for some businesses even after solid summer
Park City during certain stretches of the summer after Independence Day appeared to be as busy as it had been since the spread of the novel coronavirus forced an early end to the ski season.
Main Street was jammed on some days and the traffic across Park City was again noticeable as people poured into the city for day trips or longer stays.
But even with what was seen as a solid summer, City Hall this week indicated there is still a threat to businesses. The municipal government drafted a report in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting scheduled on Thursday that says “many local businesses are still suffering due to the mandated spring closures, social distancing regulations, and lack of Special Events and overall visitation.”
Jenny Diersen, the economic development program manager at City Hall, authored the report and also wrote “the time table for ‘recovery’ and the future of many local businesses remains uncertain” even as municipal staffers assigned to economic development continue “to support efforts to create a more flexible and adaptive business environment especially as we head into the fall (shoulder) season.”
The language of the report issued this week is similar to a Diersen-authored report that was written in early August. In the earlier report, Diersen also noted an uncertain future for many Park City businesses. The similarities between the two reports point to continued concern at City Hall regarding the business climate as the community moves through the shoulder season and as the scheduled start of the ski season approaches.
The early end to the 2019-2020 ski season was an initial blow to the Park City-area economy, but there were also a series of special event cancellations in the summer, including the Park Silly Sunday Market, the Tour of Utah bicycling race and the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. Still, the crowds during the summer were larger than many had expected. The Main Street pedestrian days, introduced in 2020, were among the draws.
The Historic Park City Alliance, which represents businesses in the Main Street core, earlier in September indicated the shopping, dining and entertainment strip is in a stronger position than it was as it reached the spring shoulder season. The leader of the Historic Park City Alliance recently said there remains a danger to some businesses but others exhibited resiliency in the summer. The summer sales were important to the long-term viability of some of the businesses in the Main Street core that were threatened in the spring, the Historic Park City Alliance has said.
The report distributed this week also offers a review of the summertime efforts to boost business, centered on the operations of the pedestrian days.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council are scheduled to receive an update on Thursday, but it is not clear whether the elected officials will discuss Main Street at the meeting as well. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and will be held virtually. More information about the meeting on Thursday is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org.
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