Park City business group: Main Street pedestrian days and the Silly Market, at the same time?
Survey launched as various parties begin to prepare for the summer
The organization that represents businesses in the Main Street core is conducting a survey designed to learn the level of support for a second year of the weekly pedestrian days along the shopping, dining and entertainment strip, an early step as various parties begin to prepare for another summer that is expected to be influenced by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Historic Park City Alliance survey, which is not scientific, involves just three questions, but the results will provide an important gauge for the group as detailed discussions approach among Main Street, City Hall and others like the Park Silly Sunday Market.
The pedestrian days on Sundays debuted in 2020 in an effort to attract people at a time of concern about the sickness. The car-free zone offered space for social distancing and allowed businesses to sell some goods outside. The days proved popular with Parkites, people from elsewhere in Utah and visitors from outside the state.
In 2020, though, the organizers of the Silly Market canceled the event, held weekly on lower Main Street and certain places on the upper end of the street. The pedestrian days were seen as offering at least a little of the Silly Market’s atmosphere. The Silly Market has announced plans to return in 2021.
The two key questions in the Historic Park City Alliance survey are:
• whether a business supports the pedestrian days, dubbed Car-Free Sundays, alongside the Silly Market between June and September
• whether a business would participate outside on the pedestrian days
The survey was scaled back from an earlier draft that included a series of scenarios for the pedestrian days.
The survey is scheduled to close Feb. 7. It will be distributed to 216 businesses in the Main Street core. A Historic Park City Alliance events committee will meet afterward to discuss the results. The board of directors of the organization is scheduled to meet about the topic on Feb. 16. Alison Kuhlow, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, said the board of directors at the meeting in February could cast a vote allowing the organization to begin logistical planning with City Hall and the Silly Market.
Kuhlow in an interview noted the differing circumstances of the Silly Market between the summer of 2020 and the upcoming season. Kuhlow, as an example, said parking issues could arise during the discussions since the Silly Market and the pedestrian days each occupy many spaces.
There was mixed reaction along Main Street to the pedestrian days in 2020, with a split between businesses that attributed an increase in sales to the pedestrianization of the street and those that did not attribute an increase to the days. The most recent survey regarding the matter was conducted in July, after a busy three-day Independence Day weekend.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council are expected to address topics related to the summer and fall on Main Street later in the winter or in the spring.
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Park City residents will have two more opportunities to take advantage of free rapid testing for COVID-19 early next week.