Woodward Park City slated for Gorgoza Park
The grass covered open hill east of Gorgoza Park, the outdoor tubing hill located near Interstate 80, is slated for Park City’s newest action-sports camp.
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for Woodward Park City, an indoor/outdoor action-sports camp, on Tuesday before a standing-room-only crowd at the Sheldon Richins Building. More than 80 people attended the nearly four-hour discussion to support or oppose the project.
The planning panel had reviewed the project for more than a year, making recommendations to mitigate the project’s impact on issues such as traffic and noise and light from snowmaking.
“If I lived in Sunridge, I would have the same concerns that have been expressed,” said Canice Harte, Planning Commission chair. “What we have tried to do is mitigate this the best we can.”
Powdr Corp., the company that applied for the conditional-use permit, currently operates five Woodward Camps throughout the United States. Woodward Park City would mark the sixth location and third mountain-based facility. It would serve athletes in several different sports, including skiing, snowboarding, gymnastics, skateboarding and BMX freestyle bicycling.
Woodward Park City would include a more than 52,000-square-foot action-sports center, equipped with indoor trampolines, ramps, foam pits, pump tracks, concrete skate park and a digital media studio. Other amenities would include a food court, lounge and coffee house, and a party room.
Several outdoor enhancements would be included, such as “lift served snow sports riding and teaching terrain, expanded snow making and continuation of the existing tubing operations,” according to a Planning Department staff report. The terrain would be serviced by a four-person chair lift. An outdoor skate park, expanded mountain biking trail system and freestyle-mountain biking terrain are also planned.
The camp’s proximity to homes located in nearby neighborhoods spurred most of the opposition to the project.
Jill Story, a Pinebrook resident, said the ski lift would be about 200 feet away from the back of her house. She said the project would disrupt the character of her neighborhood, which she described as “quite and serene.”
“This will have a massive and devastating impact on us,” she said. “We have lived there over 20 years and were told nothing could be built behind us. I’m hoping the committee doesn’t already have their minds made up. I’m not saying we don’t need another massive venue, I just don’t think it needs to be put into an area that will impact an existing community.”
Sara Edgar, who lives on Sunridge Drive, said she doesn’t necessarily oppose the project, only its location.
“I’m afraid of the effect this will have on the quality of life of those surrounding it,” she said. “No other Woodward facilities are this close to neighboring homes or have chair lifts that are 200 feet from a home.”
While several spoke out against the project, a roughly equal number of people in attendance supported the proposal, with some even wearing Woodward sweatshirts and hats. They said it fit in with the aesthetics of Park City as a recreational community that supports and fosters athletes in extreme sports.
Jared Pensis, a Park City resident, said he first went to Woodward Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old. He credited the camp with helping shape him into the person he is and sparking his passion for snowboarding and skateboarding.
“You get to meet kids that are your age and doing your thing,” he said. “If you go to Woodward, it means you have an enjoyment for that sport and people travel from all over the world to do that. To further open that up and to put a Woodward in Utah would be monumental. I understand everyone’s concerns in the neighboring communities, but it would be lovely as well. I’m extra excited for it.”
Tammi Parish, who identified herself as a mother of two young boys, said she sent them to Woodward West in Tehachapi, California, over winter break for a camp. She highlighted her experience as proof of the professional way the camps are operated.
“They are clean and very well kept. I was very impressed with the facility itself and the people that maintain it and work there,” she said. “This won’t be a regular ski resort. It is not going to bring random people that are coming up and using the slopes alone. It is well supervised and I know that is something you have to consider when putting it in a residential neighborhood. Park City is known for its recreation and, from a living standpoint, a lot of people in Park City came here for that.”
After taking comments from nearly 40 people, Planning Commissioners placed several conditions on the project, such as prohibiting amplified noise and requiring the snowmaking lights to be turned off no later than 10 p.m., before ultimately deciding to approve the project.
To view the staff report, which includes renderings of the proposed facility and surrounding terrain, go to http://summitcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/7062.
“Brad McCutcheon has been a member of the Park City Day School community for seven years, both as a parent of three students and an administrator wearing many hats,” said an email sent by school board of trustee member Savannah O’Connell.
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