Park City police officers are busy, and that could be a good sign for economy
Police Department likens early January to the holiday stretch
There was noise in Park City last week. There was traffic. And there were parking issues.
Just like a normal ski season.
The Park City Police Department logs during the first full week of 2021 indicated the agency remained busy with reports normally associated with crowds, even after the Christmas-to-New Year’s stretch.
The number and sorts of calls to the police between Jan. 4 and Jan. 10 point to the likelihood of a solid stretch for businesses in Park City following the holidays. There is usually a post-holiday lull before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and then the Sundance Film Festival.
The Police Department call volume during any given week is not necessarily a direct indicator of economic activity, but it usually is indicative of the number of visitors in the community. If the visitor numbers are up, it is likely a variety of business sectors also recorded an uptick in sales.
“A lot of people, especially out-of-staters, stayed past the holiday breaks,” Phil Kirk, a police captain, said as he explained the numerous reports to the department, adding that a busy period “brings with it a corresponding increase in calls for service.”
Kirk said the cases were not serious and many of the reports involved complaints about noisy people and traffic.
“We were as busy last week as we were during the historically busy time,” he said, likening early January to the holidays.
Sales during the holiday stretch itself appeared to be solid, and the busyness reported by the Police Department in the days after New Year’s could be a signal of added activity afterward.
City Hall officials as well as the business community are closely watching economic numbers during the ski season, the first full one since the spread of the novel coronavirus became devastating. There is hope that the numerous measures to protect against the spread of the disease adopted by government officials, the mountain resorts and other businesses have created an environment in Park City and surrounding Summit County that addresses the concerns of travelers.
The holidays are traditionally the first in a series of especially busy stretches during the ski season. The Sundance Film Festival follows in the weeks after the holidays, with the Presidents Day weekend and the spring break period later. Economic activity during Sundance is expected to drop sharply with the elimination of in-person venues in Park City. Presidents Day and spring break numbers will likely depend on snow conditions and the state of the spread of the virus at those times.
The Police Department in early January logged complaints like noisy people in a hot tub at a little bit before 11 p.m. on Jan. 10 on Three Kings Drive, a fight on Main Street at 2:18 a.m. on Jan. 10 and two suspected disorderly conduct cases of an unspecified nature within an hour of each other on Main Street starting in the 10 p.m. hour. At one especially busy time last week, at midday on Jan. 8, a police officer indicated they were unable to complete a patrol due to the number of calls the agency received that required a response.
Some of the other cases last week that appeared to have been a result of the crowds include:
• on Jan. 8 at 7:38 a.m., a City Hall official in engineering expressed concern to the police about the number of cars left on the road on Lowell Avenue lacking the required permit.
• on Jan. 7 at 11:27 p.m., a vehicle was seen staging and loading people in the road at or close to the intersection of Swede Alley and 5th Street.
• on Jan. 7 at 7:53 p.m., a vehicle with nobody inside was seen blocking a right of way on Main Street. The police classified the case as an impound.
• on Jan. 7 at 5:33 p.m., a vehicle was left on Empire Avenue in a location where it blocked the stairs to a house.
• on Jan. 6 at 4:17 p.m., the police indicated traffic control was needed on outbound S.R. 224.
• on Jan. 6 at 1:19 a.m., people reportedly refused to leave a ridesharing vehicle at the intersection of Deer Valley Drive and Bonanza Drive. The people banged on the vehicle, cursed and shouted, the police were told. The Police Department logged the case as suspected disorderly conduct.
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The Sundance Film Festival will require people attending screenings or other festival events in Utah in 2022 to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, an important public health step as organizers continue to plan for an in-person event after the festival moved to an online platform this year due to concern over the sickness.