Silly Market deal would keep weekly bazaar on Main Street | ParkRecord.com

Silly Market deal would keep weekly bazaar on Main Street

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City officials and the organizers of the Park Silly Sunday Market have negotiated an agreement to keep the weekly bazaar on Main Street, a deal that took months of tense talks to reach and one that bids to rebuild the frayed relations between the Silly Market and some of the brick-and-mortar businesses on the street.

Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council are scheduled to consider the agreement at a Thursday meeting. The meeting starts at 5 p.m., with 30 minutes set aside for the Silly Market starting at 5:20 p.m. The elected officials expect to take testimony at that time and again sometime soon after 6 p.m.

The two sides reached terms on a three-year agreement starting with the 2010 edition of the Silly Market. It includes two two-year automatic renewals, meaning that the agreement puts the event on Main Street through at least 2016 unless either side breaks from the deal.

The Silly Market organizers had sought a long-term agreement with City Hall, saying that having one would better position the Silly Market with its financial backers. But in doing so the market, a popular destination on Sundays in the summer and fall, became embroiled in unexpectedly difficult talks involving its leaders, the rest of Main Street and Park City officials.

"This contract is really exciting for all of us. The Main Street merchants, the city and (Park Silly Sunday Market) working together," said Kimberly Kuehn, a cofounder of the Silly Market who leads her side’s discussions with City Hall.

City Hall has agreed to a package of financial incentives as part of the agreement. The incentives are dependent on a separate decision, also scheduled to be made on Thursday, increasing the fees for paid parking on Main Street to $1.50 per hour from the $1 per hour charge now.

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According to the agreement, the Silly Market will receive from City Hall:

$40,000 each year from the additional paid-parking revenues the higher prices are expected to generate. Additional money from the 50 cent increase will go to the Historic Main Street Business Alliance and stay with the municipal government itself.

$53,730 worth of fee waivers each year from City Hall.

$40,000 in cash contributions annually from City Hall

$10,000 in donated services each year from City Hall

Park City officials have long provided inducements to event organizers in an effort to either attract them to the city or keep them in Park City, a key part of City Hall’s economic-development efforts.

The Silly Market organizers, meanwhile, have also agreed to expand the event south to 5th Street, with the $40,000 annually from the paid-parking revenues funding the move southward.

Its southern boundary has been Heber Avenue since the Silly Market was created in 2007. The expansion southward is seen as a significant move by the organizers to answer deep concerns on the upper stretches of Main Street that the Silly Market has funneled customers to the lower section of the street.

Some Main Street businesses not situated close to the Silly Market have said their Sunday sales in the summer and fall have sunk in the years the market has operated. The large crowds at the Silly Market typically spend their money there instead of wandering up the street for meals and shopping, merchants and restaurant owners south of Heber Avenue have said. expanding the event to 5th Street, City Hall and the Silly Market are trying to spread the crowds to a wider swath of Main Street.

The agreement appears to end further talk about the Silly Market ditching Main Street for another location. Late in 2009, after an earlier breakdown of talks between City Hall and the Silly Market organizers, the Silly Market indicated it would consider alternate locations. Nine places on the West Side of Summit County, including Main Street, were under consideration at the time.

The 2010 Silly Market season is scheduled to open on June 13 and run until Sept. 26.