Advisory Committee continues work on recreation master plan
The Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan, first presented to the public March 2, continues to take shape. Like many issues in Park City, parking and transportation are two of the biggest hurdles to overcome. At a meeting of the Plan’s advisory committee last week, talk of which facilities to build and where continually came back around to transportation.
"I’m going to harp on transportation every time we have this discussion," said Roger Armstrong, chair of the Summit County Council.
Armstrong is a member of the advisory committee overseeing the Master Plan, which boasts 19 members from entities throughout the community. The group met March 16 at the Basin Recreation offices to look over what the public had to say. Lisa Benson, project manager for Landmark Design, said 20 comment forms were filled out at the open houses, with an additional 17 comments submitted on the website or through email. She said one comment they heard frequently in conversing with people who attended the meetings was that they wanted Park City School District to be more involved in the Master Plan. That concern was addressed at a PCSD meeting March 15, wherein the board voted to take a seat at the table and get directly involved in the effort. Three representatives from PCSD were in attendance at the advisory committee meeting.
"A lot of people wanted to see the school district take a more active role, which is great, because they are here today and hopefully we can take some time for them to talk about how they want to be involved in this process," Benson said.
The Master Plan was presented to the public at two meetings March 2, one at the PC MARC and one at the Basin Fieldhouse. The open houses were a chance for the community to weigh in on the plan in its infant stage, to have their say in which parcels of land are priorities and where the best location for certain facilities might be.
One of the greatest needs identified as part of the Master Plan was more swimming, whether it be in the form of a 50-meter or 100-meter pool or even a pool with capacity for seating to host events. Benson said some attendees at the meeting had swim questions that couldn’t be answered.
"At the Basin meeting, a concern that came up was that there didn’t seem to be an aquatics expert to turn to, so I think that’s an area where the school district has experience and we can kind of pull from their experience," Benson said. "And we’ve also been talking about us, as a team, bringing in an aquatics expert."
In looking over the comments submitted by the public (which can be viewed at the Master Plan’s website, RecFacilitiesMP.org), Benson pointed out that a big question the committee must answer is whether it is best to have one mega recreation center with as many amenities as possible, or multiple nodes of recreation around the area. That was when Armstrong said he will continue to bring up transportation every time development discussions come up.
"Every time for the next 10 years," he said. "When you look at the U.S. 40 corridor, and it’s being looked at for other possible uses, too it feels like it is the farthest spot from anything. Look at the Triangle Parcel. It feels like we couldn’t put it farther away to make it less accessible to Park City.
"I would use caution with the 40 corridor, because it feels isolated."
Basin Recreation Parks & Recreation Manager Brian Hanton said he had a different view.
"I think it’s looking at future development of the 40, though," he said. "To me it looks like it’s kind of an advance step to be ready for when that population explodes out there."
Armstrong conceded Hanton might be right, but he offered up Promontory as an example of why that sort of assumption about growth can be dangerous.
"Promontory is 1,900 units, that’s what it’s planned for," he said. "It’s been on the ground and building out for about 15 or 16 years. After 15 or 16 years, it’s at 800 units sold out of 1,900. On that track, you’re talking about property that’s not going to be sold out for another 15 or 20 years, probably.
"My concern is that we overbuild for something that is coming in the future and then we are stuck. Right now the critical issue in my head is traffic and transportation, and creating a balance there is a challenge."
Park City Recreation Services Manager Ken Fisher said he believes a centralized recreation approach might be best.
"The Triangle Parcel has the opportunity, potentially, to be that mega center," he said. "Where, yes, people may have to drive to get there, but once they are there, we can accommodate lots of uses. Whereas now we struggle lots of times."
Fisher said having different uses at different locations around town causes problems and makes the traffic situation even worse.
"Say you’ve got a couple of kids and they are in different age groups," he said. "You’ve got a game at Willow Creek and 20 minutes later you have to be at Quinn’s. And we’re putting all these cars on the road, driving in circles. Whereas if there was one destination, once they are there, they are there."
Traffic and transportation was a major issue for the people who weighed in at the open houses, as well. Benson said people came out on both sides of that argument.
"Some people said [alternate] transit use isn’t practical for this community, and they felt we should be providing more than ample parking at most facilities and that we shouldn’t rely on public transit," she said. "But other people felt like it was really key that we integrate into public transit. So again, we have to determine how we weigh these things."
The Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan is scheduled for another public presentation Wednesday, April 13, again at the Basin Fieldhouse (at 11 a.m.) and the PC MARC (at 5 p.m.). For more information, to view the site concepts and public comments so far or to submit a comment, visit RecFacilitiesMP.org. Comments can also be emailed to RecFacilitiesMP@ldi-ut.com.
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.