Bonanza Art District passes with flying colors
Kimball, Sundance and council are enthusiastic about the proposed redevelopment
The Park City Council voted Thursday to approve the purchase 5.25 acres in Bonanza Park East to continue creating a new arts and cultural district. The council also unanimously accepted letters of intent between the city and Sundance Institute, and the city and Kimball Arts Center, outlining their roles as partners in the project. The council also approved a 1 percent Municipal Transient Room Tax beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Comments from the general public were overwhelmingly in support of every aspect of the proposed arts and culture district, with representatives from Sundance Institute, Kimball Arts Center, Park City Film Series, and Summit County Arts Council speaking, as well as two students involved with the Kimball Art Center’s Young Artists Academy.
The area being purchased includes all land bordered between Kearns Boulevard, Bonanza Drive, Munchkin Road and Woodbine Way. The city had also recently purchased a parking lot south of The Yard, recently named the Homestake Parking Lot, which will be included in the redevelopment plans.
According to the staff report, the new arts and cultural district will include proposed new homes for Sundance Institute and Kimball Arts Center, a shared-space building for arts and culture-related nonprofits, a transit hub, parking, retail, dining, and office space, plaza space, and nearby affordable housing.
Council member Nann Worel was enthusiastic about the plans and partnerships for the new district.
“When the opportunity first came to us, I was concerned about the short timeline and the lack of public process because that’s really important… I’m comfortable that as we move into the Master Planning Development process, that there’s going to be numerous opportunities for the entire community to become involved,” she said.
Council member Tim Henney summarized his support for the project: “This has been an ongoing process for quite a while, and this area is up for redevelopment … what we have the opportunity to do by making this a government project is we unplug the profit motive that drives the private sector model, and we plug in community benefit.”
One concern that has consistently arisen throughout the process is the 1 percent Municipal Transient Room Tax that would be leveraged on visitors staying overnight in town to help the city cover the parcel’s $19.5 million price tag.
The tax would be in addition to Summit County’s current 3 percent transient room tax and a new 0.32 percent tax from the state, also starting Jan. 1. The overall 4.32 percent transient room tax is addition to Park City’s 8.45 percent sales tax, making the total lodging tax 12.77 percent. This is lower than Salt Lake City, Midway (both 12.92 percent), Denver (14.75 percent) and Mammoth (14.0 percent) but higher than Aspen (11.3 percent), Crested Butte (12.5 percent) and Vail (9.8 percent).
Chris Eggleton, former president of the Park City Chamber and Park City Area Lodging Association, addressed that concern during public comment.
Raising taxes is always a concern, he said, and the accelerated pace of the process so far has had its consequences. “Without the opportunity to discuss it with the constituency that ultimately is funding it, the lodging community, it becomes hard to accept that tax,” he said.
Members of the lodging community have expressed their concerns to the staff, council, and mayor since the proposed tax was announced, however. “In the end, my colleagues and I really look forward to working with each of you to collaborate on what the future of the project ends up becoming,” Eggleton said.
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