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Park City’s planned arts district apparently will be reassessed amid coronavirus turmoil

City Hall plans to develop an arts and culture district along Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive, on land acquired from the Bonanza Park partnership.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

A member of the Park City Council on Tuesday morning appeared to suggest a planned arts and culture district will be reassessed in some fashion as City Hall considers budgeting strategies amid the economic turmoil wrought by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Park City Councilors Tim Henney and Becca Gerber briefly mentioned the arts and culture district during an online Virtual Coffee With Council, one in a series of digital events hosted by City Hall designed to provide updates about the municipal government’s work as the coronavirus struggles continue.

The two members of the City Council did not provide details as they spoke about the arts and culture district. Both of them, though, noted officials planned to put monies generated from taxes toward the project. It seemed the comments were focused on an added charge to lodging. Henney and Gerber each mentioned a tie between the arts and culture district funding and taxes, but neither of them spoke in any detail about the subject.

Gerber said the elected officials expect to discuss City Hall’s capital projects during the upcoming budget talks. Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council are expected to begin the budget discussions shortly. A spending plan for the next fiscal year is expected to be adopted early in the summer.

Any modifications to the plans for the arts and culture district, regardless of whether they are to the timeline or the project itself, would be notable as it is billed as one of the municipal government’s most ambitious developments.

The arts and culture district is slated on City Hall-owned land along Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive. The Kimball Art Center and the Utah headquarters of the Sundance Institute would anchor the district. The municipal government intends to sell parcels of the land to the two organizations for their individual projects.

Leaders have seen a district as something that would solidify Park City’s status as an arts and culture destination and a development that would advance the efforts to diversify the local economy from one that is heavily weighted toward the ski industry.

There have been limited public discussions about the plans in recent months. The City Council in January approved a change to an architectural contract involving work on the design of an arts and culture district.

City Hall in January indicated the municipal government, the Kimball Art Center and the Sundance Institute were finalizing a joint development proposal. The sides at that time anticipated a submittal to the Park City Planning Department in the spring. An update about the timeline was not available after the comments on Tuesday.

The upcoming City Hall budget discussions are expected to be some of the most challenging in years, likely since the depths of the recession a decade ago, as it becomes clear how damaging the shutdowns of the mountain resorts and other businesses were to the economic numbers. The Park City Chamber/Bureau, though, has said much of the ski season’s business had already been conducted by the time of the shutdowns, something that could blunt the impact on the budget.


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