Park City events defended as putting ‘heads on beds’
Tour of Utah departure discussed at City Council gathering
February 24, 2017
The Tour of Utah's decision not to begin or end a stage in Park City this year spurred a discussion at a recent City Hall-sponsored gathering as a man who lives in the city argued that events like the bicycling race are important for businesses.
Two members of the Park City Council and several municipal staffers held a Coffee with Council meant to gather input from residents. The notes of the gathering, as compiled by City Hall, describe a talk about the Tour of Utah. The race became a large summertime event as crowds descended on Main Street for a day of watching the bicyclists and celebrating the sport. The Tour of Utah organizers by the time the Coffee with Council was held had announced Park City would not host the beginning or ending of a stage. There is a possibility the race route could include the Park City area, but the beginnings and endings of stages are far more prominent affairs than a section of a route.
Todd Hageman, a lower Deer Valley resident, is the technical director of the Tour of Utah but was speaking on behalf of himself rather than the event when he appeared at the Coffee with Council.
"Small companies make the majority of revenue in the winter, but any business will make money in the winter. It's the summer and off season revenue that will make or break them. So these types of events that put heads on beds are the most important," the notes of Hageman's comments said, adding that he explained soccer and softball tournaments, as well as the Tour of Utah, "keep businesses" going.
"We can't 'shutter' our businesses anymore like we used to in the off season. Families are represented here. Events for small businesses are crucial and should trump small inconveniences to businesses and/or residents," he said, according to the notes.
Hageman also said complaints appear to be based on fear.
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City Councilor Cindy Matsumoto responded that City Hall is "disappointed" the Tour of Utah route does not include Park City in 2017. She said the event provides publicity in the state and in the U.S.
"We do hear complaints more often than the positive. We don't want to make decisions based solely on the complaints," Matsumoto said, as transcribed in the notes, adding, "We do hear one-sided conversation and would like to hear all perspectives."
Nann Worel, another member of the City Council who attended, told Hageman officials look at the full calendar of events rather than a single one. She said fatigue sets in "when events stack up on each other for weeks on end."
The Tour of Utah runs from July 31 until Aug. 6. The race route has included Park City or surrounding Summit County 12 of the 13 years it has existed. The Tour of Utah this year overlaps with the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, which unfolds on Main Street. The arts festival has previously shifted weekends to accommodate the Tour of Utah but prefers to retain the traditional dates. Officials with the Tour of Utah and City Hall recently indicated the bicycling race could return to Park City in a future year.
The Tour of Utah estimates a crowd of between 40,000 and 50,000 people attended the finish when it was in Park City. The estimate makes the Tour of Utah one of the largest events in Park City.
Park City leaders are attempting to better balance the busy calendar of special events against the desires of some residents for a quieter community. The discussions involve topics like business boosts from special events and traffic.