Public weighs in on recreational future
With a family of four that prefers to be up and moving and a "very active dog," to boot, Park City resident Stephanie Donovan said she visits just about every park and recreation center in the area.
"The PC MARC, the pool out at Ecker, parks with my dog, the ice rink," she said. "We use everything."
Suffice it to say, Donovan is very interested in where recreation in the Park City area is headed, which is why she was one of dozens who attended the Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan meeting Wednesday. Two meetings were held, one in the morning at PC MARC and one in the evening at the Basin Recreation Center Fieldhouse. The Master Plan is a joint effort of the Park City Municipal Corporation and the Snyderville Basin Recreation District, with input from the Park City School District.
The presentation Wednesday was based on the Mountain Recreation Strategic Action Plan completed in 2013 which was formulated after a community interest and opinion survey conducted in 2012. The City and the Basin have now contracted with Landmark Design to look at possible sites for the facilities prioritized in that plan.
"[This meeting] is about helping us determine the factors we will use to make these decisions," said Mark Vlasic, Landmark’s owner. "It’s about helping us form the guiding principles we will use to evaluate these sites and concepts."
Rena Jordan, director of the Snyderville Basin Recreation District, said the project concepts presented Wednesday are not connected to the $25 million bond voters approved in 2014.
"These are all potential projects in the future that will require future funding sources," she said. "The $25 million bond is split as $15 million for open space acquisition, $5.5 million for the completion of the final phase of the Fieldhouse (which should break ground this summer), $2.5 million for a future ice arena expansion and the remainder for trails projects."
The presentation included 10 sites around Park City and the Basin, with multiple concepts at each site. Among the sites under consideration are: City Park; Quinn’s Junction; a 15-acre parcel just north of the Park City Ice Arena; Trailside and Willow Creek parks; and the PC MARC, to name a few. The concepts were not necessarily meant to be considered together (multiple concepts included a two-sheet ice arena, for example), but were instead meant to help determine where the best site would be for, say, a new ice arena or indoor aquatic center. Those two examples, incidentally, were the top two priorities identified in the 2013 strategic action plan.
"The top three were an indoor ice rink, an indoor aquatic center with leisure and lap lanes, and indoor multipurpose fields," said Lisa Benson, project manager for Landmark.
Benson noted that the study does include the option of new facilities at Ecker Hill Middle School (a 50-meter pool or multipurpose fields) and Park City High School (multipurpose fields), but she said Park City School District’s involvement is limited.
"The school district isn’t participating as part of funding this project but they are on our advisory committee and they’re definitely giving their input," she said. "They’re still trying to figure out their priorities after the bond failed in November, figuring out which direction they want to go."
Benson said the suggestion of new facilities at school sites should be done with that in mind.
"We may or may not include any more facilities on here [as concepts]," she said. "We just don’t know what the district wants yet."
The complete presentation, including conceptual drawings of what might go where, is available at RecFacilitiesMP.org, and Vlasic encouraged everyone who was unable to attend a meeting to look over the presentation and offer their input.
After watching the presentation and taking a few minutes to check out the site concepts on display, Donovan said she is happy with a lot of the ideas presented.
"I love that they are exploring all kinds of options, and for different segments of the community as well," she said. "I think I tend to prefer infill options where people can access facilities by bike or walking or public transit, as opposed to driving. So I didn’t like the concept way, way out [the triangle parcel], because everyone would have to drive there."
Donovan said she is also glad to see City Park as one of the sites under review.
"Improving City Park needs to happen," she said. "It’s old infrastructure that can be improved upon. I was also very surprised to like the idea of a water park at The Canyons. I actually think that’s a fairly central location that could be good for both Park City and Kimball Junction."
Donovan said she would like to see the plan include lots of modest improvements at multiple sites rather than one or two massive projects. She said she plans to attend the next public meeting in April to continue to make that case.
"Yeah, absolutely, I’ll be back," she said. "I’m thrilled they are looking at all kinds of options. It seems like they are doing their due diligence and getting a lot of community input."
Alisha Niswander, a Park City resident who runs her own guide company, Mountain Vista Touring, said her interest in recreation is two-fold.
"I’m out either with clients or on my own pretty much all day every day," she said. "So the trails and the parks and the recreational opportunities are very important to me on a personal and a professional level."
Niswander serves on Park City’s Recreation Advisory Board and she said her experience there has driven home how important participation is to the process.
"I’ve learned that if you don’t come out and become educated, and give comments, positive and negative, you missed your window," she said. "And then you don’t have any right to complain about it once a decision is made.
"I just think with recreation being one of our number one assets in this town, we really have to work together with the county and the city and private entities to figure out what’s going to make the most sense."
Niswander said reviewing the plan at this early stage in the process, with ten sites and multiple concepts at each site, left her feeling a bit overwhelmed.
"But I think having a lot of options is good," she said. "I’m glad I came. I feel a bit more ‘in the know.’ I just hope we get a lot of public input, because this is the time and this window is going to close quickly."
The next opportunity for the public to share their thoughts in person will be at either of two meetings Wednesday, April 13 — at 11 a.m. at the Basin Recreation Center Fieldhouse, 1388 Center Dr., and at 5 p.m. at the PC MARC, 1200 Little Kate Rd. People can also weigh in at the plan’s website, RecFacilitiesMP.org, or by email at RecFacilitiesMP@ldi-ut.com.
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