Park City roadwork influenced by prospects of Treasure
Developer will participate financially in Lowell Avenue project
THE PARK RECORD
Park City-hired crews have started a major redo of Lowell Avenue, a road project that continues the municipal government’s long-running upgrades of Old Town streets but one that has greater significance amid the difficult discussions about the Treasure development proposal.
Lowell Avenue is a critical road linking Park City Mountain Resort to Old Town. It is also seen as a primary route accessing the land where the Treasure partnership wants to develop a major project on the slopes of PCMR.
Although the work on Lowell Avenue is not exclusively tied to Treasure, the prospects of development on that land influenced the details of the roadwork. The Treasure partnership, consisting of the Sweeney family and a firm called Park City II, LLC, wants to develop upward of 1 million square feet on a hillside overlooking Old Town just off Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. The partnership is entangled in difficult discussions with the Park City Planning Commission. It is not clear when a decision will be made.
City Hall, though, considered Treasure as it designed the roadwork, and the Treasure partnership will fund a portion. The Treasure side years ago agreed to financially participate in the redo of Lowell Avenue, acknowledging the impact of the project. The Treasure side opted to participate this year instead of waiting and redoing Lowell Avenue as the project is built later.
Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer, said the work is designed differently than it would have been had Treasure wanted to delay its participation. He said the asphalt and road base will measure 24 inches thick. Had Treasure not participated, the thickness would have been 10 inches, he said.
The overall cost of the work is expected to total approximately $2.1 million. The Treasure partnership said it anticipates funding $183,020 of the overall figure.
Pat Sweeney, who represents his family in the Treasure discussions, said the 24 inches of asphalt and road base is needed primarily for Lowell Avenue to accommodate the construction vehicles that will use the street while the project is built. The thicker road is not required for the Treasure-related traffic that is anticipated once the development is finished, Sweeney said.
“It just seems prudent, conservative, if we have the opportunity now . . . so it will be more durable,” Sweeney said.
He said a 1980s overall approval involving the Treasure land and nearby parcels called for the developer to financially participate in the redo of Lowell Avenue. Sweeney said the construction traffic anticipated during the development of Treasure is “no different than anyone else’s construction traffic.”
“The difference is we’re being singled out for mitigation of the road,” Sweeney said.
The Treasure partnership’s financial involvement in the Lowell Avenue work brings further attention to the discussions about the project. The Treasure opposition is centered along streets like Lowell Avenue and Empire Avenue. The opposition has broad concerns about Treasure and has argued for years that the roads cannot properly accommodate the anticipated traffic increase from the project. The roadwork this year, though, has not been heavily discussed during recent Planning Commission hearings about the project.
The work along Lowell Avenue will stretch between the intersections with Empire Avenue and Manor Way, a 2,600-foot-long section. The crews will replace sewer and water lines as well as install new curbs and gutters. New asphalt will be put down and a small section of storm drain will be installed. The work is expected to be completed by Oct. 15, the traditional date for City Hall roadwork to be finished. The crews have started on the northern end of the roadwork zone.
A City Hall report detailing the project says the sewer line that will be replaced is more than 50 years old. The report also says the project is meant to improve drainage.
Temporary road closures are planned throughout the work. The road will be open on evenings and weekends. Access to driveways will be blocked sporadically for short periods of time.
“Opening it every evening and every weekend helps a lot . . . It should work decently,” Cassel said.
More information about the project is available on City Hall’s website. The link is: http://www.parkcity.org/government/current-construction-projects/lowell-avenue-projects. A document outlining the work is also available online, at: http://www.parkcity.org/home/showdocument?id=37643.
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A group of Park City residents on Monday night criticized the prospects of City Hall developing a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in Old Town. The people at a Marsac Building event raised a range of issues.