Park City Library field seen as ‘sacred’ in any development talks |

Park City Library field seen as ‘sacred’ in any development talks

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Update, 7/15/15: The Thursday afternoon presentation about the design studio will take place at City Hall, not the library.

The field outside the Park City Library and Education Center could one day become a development battlefield.

City Hall does not currently have plans to develop part of the field with some sort of restricted housing, but the idea has been broached before. The field is among the locations along the lower Park Avenue corridor that has drawn attention as officials consider the future of the patchwork of properties under municipal control.

Decisions about the properties have not been made. Leaders are gathering input about the possibilities. During a Monday evening event involving architects, planners and developers, some members of the public argued against a housing project on the field. The gathering was scheduled as the architects, planners and designers participated in a design studio organized by City Hall to focus on the municipal properties along lower Park Avenue.

The field outside the library is just one of the properties, but it seemed to garner a significant amount of attention from the Park City residents who attended on Monday. Some of the attendees left written messages about the field on boards while others spoke to City Hall officials or the design studio participants about the location.

One of the people concerned there could be development at the site was Jo Jones, a Heber resident who previously lived in Park City and still works in the city. Jones said in an interview there are few places to gather in Park City like the field.

"There’s City Park and that. It’s the only spot you can go and hang out, relax, play Frisbee," Jones said. "I think you would lose the sense of openness if you box it in."

Jones said she would oppose an idea to build housing on the field, saying doing so would amount to "development ruining another open space."

"I think there would be public disappointment . . . about losing pieces of our community," she said.

The field outside the library, located to the north of the building, has long been an attractive spot for people to gather. It is especially popular with dog owners who bring their pets there for games of fetch and to socialize them with other dogs. There were a few people with their dogs at the field as the Monday event, which was held at the Library and Education Center.

Park City officials say there are no plans to develop housing on the field. In the past, as City Hall sought potential locations for housing, the edge of the field had been mentioned. A project has not been pursued, but there is lingering concern about the prospects of development there nonetheless.

People who left written messages wanted the field to be left undeveloped. The messages were left anonymously. Some of the messages regarding the field included:

  • "turn the library field into a trust never to be developed"
  • "would NYC build housing on Central Park? — I think not"
  • "preserve the library play fields"
  • "lib. park is sacred"
  • "field is unofficial mtg. spot for community . . . clapping"
  • "doing something at this time with the library field is foolish." The person wrote that City Hall should delay a decision for several years in order to learn about the impact of Vail Resorts’ ownership of Park City Mountain Resort.
  • "a ‘couple’ ‘small’ houses on Library Field does not make a dent in the real issue . . . Why trash a beautiful field for that!"
  • "keep some green space — don’t destroy the ‘dog park’"

    The event drew people interested in other topics related to the lower Park Avenue corridor as well.

    Ralph Gates, a 90-year-old who has lived in the Park City area since 1990, spent time learning about possibilities involving the Park City Senior Citizens Center on Woodside Avenue. Gates visits the senior center twice a week for lunch and games of bridge. Gates said he would like a facility to be built offering assisted living.

    "I’ve been living here a long time. As I get older, I want to stay here," Gates said, adding, "Park City is the product of people who have been living here 30, 40 years . . . They want to stay here when they retire."

    Presentations about the design studio are scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday. The Wednesday presentation is set for 4 p.m. in the third floor community room at the Library and Education Center. Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council are scheduled to listen to a presentation at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at City Hall.