Park City poised to tap Silly Market to organize Fourth of July, but coronavirus could still force a cancellation
There are continuing worries about holding Independence Day celebration even with vaccine rollout underway
It could be May before Park City makes a declaration regarding the Fourth of July.
Leaders on Thursday are scheduled to hold another round of discussions about the Independence Day celebration, but City Hall staffers expect it will be several more months before plans for July 4 are finalized as officials monitor the health situation with the novel coronavirus still spreading.
A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting on Thursday indicates staffers want to decide by May whether “we can safely move forward with the City’s Fourth of July.”
The talks are underway about the Independence Day celebration amid falling coronavirus case counts and the vaccine rollout. There is still concern, though, about the spread of the sickness and to what degree the coronavirus will impact events in the summer. It is expected the coronavirus will still be spreading in the summer and as July 4 arrives, complicating event planning at a time when organizers would like to be preparing to finalize blueprints.
The report to the elected officials says City Hall anticipates there could be a relaxing of current public health guidelines governing gatherings in coming months. The staffers, though, “need ample time to develop event operation plans to meet COVID-19 guidelines,” the report says.
Staffers on Thursday want the City Council to authorize the Park City manager to sign an agreement with the Park Silly Sunday Market to plan the Independence Day celebration. The deal would be valued at $20,000 or less.
The meeting on Thursday is scheduled a week after the elected officials addressed the Fourth of July as part of a broader discussion about the summertime event calendar. The City Council at the earlier meeting was not scheduled to make decisions, but there appeared to be concern about holding an Independence Day celebration like the traditional one.
The Fourth of July is normally one of the busiest days of the year in Park City as large crowds gather for a parade, daylong activities and then a fireworks display. The day draws Parkites, people from elsewhere in Utah and those from outside the state. The activities were canceled in 2020 as the community attempted to curb the spread of the sickness.
There was worry at the meeting last week about holding a large event. Steve Joyce, a member of the City Council, last week indicated he would currently oppose holding a large celebration on July 4 and said it was unclear how Park City would hold a celebration with a scaled-back crowd.
The draft agreement between City Hall and the Silly Market for the Fourth of July celebration addresses coronavirus precautions in broad terms. The agreement would make the Silly Market side responsible for the steps that will be designed to guard against the coronavirus. The Silly Market would be tasked with developing protocols, filling out forms and attending meetings with officials from City Hall, the County Courthouse and the state. The Silly Market would also train volunteers and vendors in the protocols and post signs related to the sickness.
A timeline of the preparation schedule provided to the elected officials indicates the coronavirus is expected to be addressed at the outset of the planning, with protocol development set to begin in the week of April 5. The steps that will be taken against the spread of the coronavirus are scheduled to be finalized during the week of June 21, according to the timeline.
The City Council meeting on Thursday is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and will be held electronically as City Hall continues to combat the spread of the sickness. More information about online attendance is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org.
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Park City Attorney Margaret Plane recently sent a memo to elected and appointed officials, as well as candidates in the City Hall election, cautioning them about making public statements regarding development proposals. The memo outlines that stands on planning and zoning matters could jeopardize a later process, such as when a decision by the Planning Commission is put to the City Council through an appeal.