Council talks Main Street Plaza
November 24, 2015
The design team working on the Main Street Plaza property returned to the Park City Council at a work session meeting Nov. 19 to update the council on where everything stands. The city-owned property is located at the intersection of Main Street and Swede Alley and colloquially known as the "Brew Pub" property for its proximity to the Wasatch Brew Pub. Clio Rayner of GSBS Architects said council has made it clear — this is a valuable piece of real estate and it is important they get the best possible use from it.
"You’ve made it clear you want it to be multiseasonal, to generate daily activity," she said.
Craig Vickers, of the landscape architecture and urban design firm Civitas, gave the bulk of the presentation. He said it is important to remember that the design process is an iterative one, that the sketches they showed Thursday are just concepts.
"We learn from listening more than anything," he said.
Vickers said the "tremendous amount" of grade change on the property is a challenge and suggested leveling out part of it. The middle portion of the property along Main Street could be flattened and used as a gathering spot, he said, or even an ice rink. The middle portion along Swede Alley could be raised and landscaped, with the resulting wall along Swede made into an art display or something along those lines.
"[For the residents there] we would want to something more interesting for them than just a wall," Rayner said.
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Vickers said there is capacity for below-grade parking there, with one level of about 40 parking spaces or even two levels that could house 80. The design team showed a concept for adding another street to the property that would be directly south of the Brew Pub and connect Main Street to Swede Alley. With that additional road, Vickers said, portions of the street around the plaza could be blocked off for festivals or markets while still allowing traffic to move from Main to Swede and vice versa.
Visibility was a prime concern, as well.
"We think it is critical there be views of the plaza from all adjacent areas," Vickers said. "We want to also create a real sense of coziness here."
Vickers said the team identified "land, people and change" as the three critical elements of the design — Park City, the people who settled it and where it is headed. The design should be representative of all those things.
David Brems of GSBS presented a few variations on the design, with different parking options and uses for the eastern part of the property. He said that raised structure could include space for local artists or shops, for example.
"You could put a solar array on the roof," he said.
The southern part of the property, he said, could include a stage for live performances.
"The plaza becomes such a compelling space," Brems said. "If you’re going to meet people anywhere on Main, it will be here. Whether skiing or shopping or going to dinner, ‘I’ll meet you at the plaza.’"
Mayor Jack Thomas said he is pleased with what the team has brought so far but wonders about the additional street.
"This is all very exciting," he said. "And I’m not opposed to this other road. I just wonder how it will function most of the time."
Councilwoman Liza Simpson said she is looking forward to the next presentation in December but cautioned against making the plaza a park-like space.
"There is already a quiet, contemplative park nearby, and we don’t need this plaza to be all things to all people," she said. "You guys have done a fabulous job."
Before the presentation wrapped up, Thomas stressed to the design team that people live near this property and their input and quality of life should be taken into account at every step.
"What is this plaza’s relationship with the adjacent properties," he said. "With the people who live right next door? [Otherwise] this [design] is an intriguing notion. A very delicate way to incorporate something new into an historic community."
The design team will next bring concepts to the city council for consideration in December.
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