City to weigh uses for Park Avenue property
November 13, 2015
At next Thursday’s meeting of the Park City Council, city staff will present a series of recommendations for possible uses of city-owned property on lower Park Avenue. Expected among those recommendations will be a proposed new home for the Park City Senior Center.
The property in question includes the old fire station at 1353 Park Ave.; the land occupied by the current senior center at 1361 Woodside Ave., along with several surrounding lots between Woodside and Norfolk avenues; the parking lot on the east side of Park Avenue (near the skateboard park) that was once owned by Mawhinney Motors; and a portion of the parking lot east of the Park City Library.
Discussions have also involved the Miners Hospital and the recreation building in City Park. However, the field north of the library will not be included in staff’s recommendations to council, according to Phyllis Robinson, community and public affairs manager.
Robinson said the recommendations come on the heels of a public-input process that began last March and included a "design studio" with local planners, designers, architects and city officials in July.
"We’ve been doing a public-outreach and engagement process for the last several months doing some individual outreach and some small-group stuff, and we hit the design studio this summer, which came out with a number of different ideas for us to consider," Robinson said at the final public-input session at the Park City Marriott Tuesday. The last two input sessions were combined with discussions on transportation options for the area surrounding the Bonanza Park project.
Among those involved in the outreach process were the members of the Park City Senior Citizens who were first told in 2012 that their center might be moving. The seniors currently hold their meetings in a renovated train depot that was moved to Park City in 1976. That site and surrounding property are being considered for an affordable-housing project.
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"If we’re looking to do housing on the land where the senior center currently sits," Robinson said Tuesday, "it’s incumbent on us first to say, ‘Where are we going to be relocating the senior services and other community services and desires that have bubbled up through this process?’"
She said people have offered a laundry list of other possible uses for the city property. "We’ve had requests for entrepreneurship space, nonprofit space, community kitchens, some live/work space So we’re looking at some mixed use, some other retail kinds of spaces."
One option proposed Tuesday was replacing the fire station with a building that would accommodate the senior citizens and other community uses.
"All plans at this point have discussed the fire station coming down," Robinson said. "That’s not set in stone, but I believe council members (Cindy) Matsumoto and (Liza) Simpson are first in line to drive the bulldozer to do that."
Discussions have also involved possible uses for the "Mawhinney lot" that currently serves as overflow parking for the library and the park. "I’m not an architect. I don’t play one on TV," Robinson said. "I can’t pretend how this will all look at the end of the day, but I do know what a nice empty slate we have if we wanted to do something with that."
Also on the table Tuesday was developing a portion of the library parking lot adjacent to Park Avenue. "In talking with our historic preservation planners, one of the things we want to make sure is we are not breaking the façade of the library itself," she said.
Robinson took pains to point out that this option did not involve the field next to the library. "For folks who have been through this process and are aware that the library field has had some conversations (about it) over the summer, I just want to point out the library field is not identified in terms of current uses."
Another possible scenario involves the Miners Hospital.
"There has been some conversation about whether there is some form of addition that could be made to the Miners Hospital, whether it’s on the side (or) it’s on the back. Again, those are all design issues that we’ll need to discuss over time," Robinson said Tuesday. "What we’re really looking to learn tonight is what’s the level of interest in these being used as community spaces and, if so, what types of uses are folks most interested in looking at for these different spaces."
If the senior center were incorporated in a Miners Hospital addition, that could open up the fire station property for other uses.
"At our last meeting last week, some of the folks were coming up thinking about this as being more kind of outdoor living space in the community, so more (of a) gathering space, plaza kind of space," she said. "Maybe there’s a transit hub here that’s an internal space with bike lockers and your ski lockers, so it becomes actually a meeting and gathering point."
Tuesday’s participants were also asked to look at the existing city recreation building, which gets a lot of use especially in the summer.
"It’s loved to death and they could certainly use a lot more space, so that’s another space we could be looking at rebuilding to provide some other youth services in there."
It’s now up to city staff to summarize all the public input from the past nine months. "And then my job is to bring that back to council next Thursday to say, ‘Here’s what we’ve heard from March forward, and here’s what we’ve heard throughout these two workshops, the one last week and the one this week," Robinson said.
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