Main Street withstood another year of heavy construction |

Main Street withstood another year of heavy construction

Sidewalks torn up. An important walkway closed. The sights and sounds of a construction zone.

Businesses along Main Street in 2014 withstood another year of City Hall improvements with, apparently, only modest concerns.

It was the second year of what is planned as between seven and 10 years of work on Main Street, an effort to make the shopping, dining and entertainment district a more attractive place. Businesses support the overall plans as a way to ensure Main Street remains competitive with other commercial destinations.

Park City officials conducted a nonscientific survey in November, finding that the businesses were generally pleased with the efforts in 2014. There are concerns each year that work on Main Street like the City Hall projects will impact business.

City Hall staffers recently distributed the results to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council. The survey was conducted in late November.

One of the key questions inquired about whether access to businesses was adequate during the work. Fifty percent of the respondents selected excellent or above average when answering the question. Just 21.43 percent indicated the access was below average or poor. The rest selected average.

In another important question, the survey delved into the timing of the work. It specified when the crews were in front of a respondent’s business. The majority — 64.29 percent — said the timing was either excellent or above average. Another 21.43 percent said the timing was average while 14.28 percent rated the timing as below average or poor.

The survey was conducted online and garnered 14 responses. It polled people about the City Hall work along Main Street but did not involve the broader private sector projects. It was an extraordinarily busy construction year on and just off Main Street as the crews hired by the municipal government worked alongside the private sector-hired crews.

Craig Sanchez, a City Hall staffer who worked closely with Main Street during the improvements, acknowledged it was a "disruptive project" but said he is pleased with the results of the survey.

He said heavy work was scheduled early in the morning, prior to many businesses opening for the day. The work with the most impact, he said, was typically done before noon.

"We try to get in, get out," Sanchez said.

He also said important progress was made in April, May and June, which are usually slower business months on Main Street.

The work this year involved 1,180 linear feet of sidewalk improvements and upgrades to storm drains. The crews also improved the intersection of Main Street and 7th Street as well as redoing the walkway between Main Street and Swede Alley best known as the location of a bronze bear sculpture.

The Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses on Main Street or just off the street, closely monitored the work for impacts on sales. Alison Butz, the executive director, said the work, generally, went "pretty well," noting that the sidewalk improvements went as planned. Butz, though, said she fielded some complaints about what were described as slight delays. There were issues at the end of May and the beginning of June, she said.

"Unfortunately, with construction there are disruptions," she said.

The results distributed to the elected officials included a series of anonymous comments gathered during the surveying. Some of the comments included:

  • "Thank you for your consideration and updates — much appreciated."
  • "Mr. Sanchez stopped by our business to check on how the construction was affecting us and took note."
  • "Appreciate the safety precautions that were taken. The orange cones with yellow ribbons were sometimes knocked out of place after the street workers had left."
  • "Schedule was delayed and changed several times hurting business to a complete halt, we were blocked even during Tour of Utah, Cinco de Mayo and many weekends during Summer."
  • "Only comment would be to keep the dirt dampened more to keep dust out of the buildings as much as possible."
  • "Professional but lack of planning, there was even heavy jack-hammering some times well after 5:00PM."
  • "Overall, the project went very smoothly and was not too disruptive for us. Thank you for a nice job and beautiful new sidewalks."
  • "Should have been done during Spring or Fall."
  • "We took a heavy toll to our overall sales, we don’t even know how we survived until now except for the grace of God."

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