Town Lift might not open this summer as plaza work continues | ParkRecord.com

Town Lift might not open this summer as plaza work continues

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Town Lift, linking Main Street to Park City Mountain Resort, might not open this summer as work continues on the plaza at the bottom of the lift.

The lift, operated by PCMR and with the bottom terminal on the Town Lift Plaza, usually is available in the summer for paying people wanting a ride to a mid-mountain point to hike or bike. It has not been open this summer.

But a major resurfacing of the Town Lift Plaza has taken longer than expected. One of the figures involved in the work said this week there is a possibility that the lift will not run at all this summer.

The Sweeney family, which owns the Town Lift Plaza, is resurfacing the plaza with financial assistance from PCMR owner Vail Resorts and The Caledonian lodging property nearby. The project also includes a reconfigured loading zone for the lift.

The family has said the surface is 17 years old and needed to be replaced. Crews earlier removed the wood surface, the gravel, insulation, a protective membrane and the top portion of a rock wall. The surface will be replaced with a similar system that includes a liquid membrane, insulating foam, a drainage board, gravel and new wood. It will be a waterproof system. The rock walls will be rebuilt at the top and the inward facing side. The deck previously was made of mahogany wood while the new one will be made of Alaskan yellow cedar. The Sweeney family has said it hopes the new deck lasts 25 years.

Pat Sweeney, who represents the family, said "unexpected challenges" arose during the work, particularly with the waterproofing membrane. Sweeney said the parties previously hoped to reopen the plaza, as well as the Town Lift, by the end of July. He said it appears the plaza will not be ready until the end of August. It will be a PCMR decision when the Town Lift opens once the deck is ready, Sweeney said, adding it is "conceivable" that the lift will not open this summer.

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Sweeney acknowledged that the situation puts a damper on business, saying it is a "loss" to the family and PCMR.

"It’s an attraction the people seem to enjoy, use. It means there’s a trickle-down effect on business," he said.

Margo Christiansen, a spokesperson for PCMR, said summer operations are "in full swing" even without the Town Lift operating, noting the PayDay lift and the Crescent lift are open. She also said part of the work at the Town Lift includes installing safety bars on the chairs.

Alison Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance business group, said visitors staying on lower Main Street have long seen the Town Lift as an attraction. People spend their day riding the Town Lift to hiking trails and end the day browsing Main Street, she said. Butz, though, said she has not fielded a complaint from a business or a visitor about the closure.

"It’s disappointing they’re not able to open it," Butz said, adding, "It is such an asset to the street."