City Hall housing, just $450 a month, honored
Some Park City bus drivers can just about roll out of bed as their day gets rolling.
Park City officials in January opened a housing project outside the Public Works Building that provides seasonal living quarters for drivers. Leaders said the housing would be an important benefit they could offer as they sought to hire bus drivers. Park City’s housing market, the most expensive in the state, sometimes is a deterrent to employers seeking to hire people.
The building offers 13 small, studio-style units measuring approximately 260 square feet each. A bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, a table and chairs and a television are in each one. There are also common areas. City Hall sets the rent at approximately $450 per month in each of the units, a price that is generally below market prices in Park City.
The Utah Housing Coalition, a Salt Lake City-based not-for-profit organization, recently honored the building as its Urban Project of the Year, feting Park City for its efforts to provide workers a place to live.
The organization noted City Hall received $1.5 million in assistance for the project from the Federal Transit Administration. It was the first known time that type of federal assistance was used to build housing in Utah, the Utah Housing Coalition said.
"The project is a result of a combination of creative thinking and persistent need," the Utah Housing Coalition said in a prepared statement announcing the award to the municipal government.
Barbara Stallone, the director of policy and public relations, for the Utah Housing Coalition said in an interview said the housing project serves "a really unique purpose" by offering living quarters for bus drivers.
"They looked really outside the box," Stallone said about City Hall’s efforts to secure funding from the Federal Transit Administration instead of more traditional federal sources like the Housing and Urban Development Department.
Brooks Robinson, the senior transportation planner for the municipal government, said bus drivers are housed in the building all year. They sign six-month leases. The Public Works Department reports each of the units or nearly all of them were rented at any one time during the 2013-2014 ski season. Officials expect it will be full during the upcoming ski season.
Rhoda Stauffer, the housing specialist at City Hall, said the ability to offer housing at rates below the market has been a recruiting tool for the Public Works Department.
"Having the housing available at a decent price has been very valuable in ensuring we get the seasonal drivers we need," Stauffer said.
The Public Works Department employs approximately 100 people on a seasonal basis in the winter to work in the transit system. There are also 54 bus drivers who work in year-round positions.
Prior to the housing building opening, City Hall put some of the bus drivers in a Park Avenue building that once was a fire station.
The municipal government won a similar award from the Utah Housing Coalition in 2010 for the Snow Creek Cottages work force housing project.
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The Summit County unemployment rate dropped slightly in October, the state Department of Workforce Services reported.