Sundance omitted from Park City arts district materials, but says it remains involved
A website that debuted as City Hall readies to advance on the efforts to develop an arts and culture district lists the municipal government and the Kimball Art Center as the key entities involved in the district, omitting the Sundance Institute even though it has been seen since the outset as one of the co-anchors alongside the art center.
The website, imaginepcarts.org, indicates the arts district will be a “cooperative project between Park City, Kimball Art Center and other arts partners” and displays the logos of the two. It does not name additional organizations that are involved, though.
The Kimball Art Center and Sundance were identified as the anchors of the district at the time City Hall announced its intentions for the development in the summer of 2017. Sundance throughout the three years since the announcement has been expected to relocate its Utah headquarters to a building that will be put up in the district, which is planned off Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive. Sundance’s current Utah headquarters are temporarily in an office building on Kearns Boulevard after having been located in Silver Star for years.
City Hall, which owns the property where the development is slated, plans to sell parcels to the Kimball Art Center and Sundance for them to put up their own buildings. City Hall officials are expected to file an application shortly with the Park City Planning Department, starting what will almost certainly be a closely watched process before the city’s Planning Commission.
The timing of the omission of Sundance from the website in the weeks before the development submittal is notable since the three parties — City Hall, Sundance and the Kimball Art Center — will be heavily involved in the Planning Commission process. The timing is also notable less than a month after Sundance announced layoffs amid the economic uncertainty caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sundance said the cuts involved 24 positions across offices in Park City, Los Angeles and New York City. The Kimball Art Center also suffered layoffs around the same time.
City Hall and Sundance on Monday said the organization is involved even with the omission from the website. A Sundance spokesperson said the organization continues to actively collaborate on the partnership but has yet to formalize the details of the project. A City Hall official said the municipal government expects to move forward with the arts district with involvement by Sundance and the Kimball Art Center.
David Everitt, a deputy Park City manager who is leading the City Hall efforts to develop the district, said in an interview Sundance and the Kimball Art Center previously signed letters of intent. He said there have not been talks between City Hall and Sundance in the last three weeks but there is an “expectation” Sundance will remain involved. The website without Sundance listed was created in mid-July, he said. Everitt said City Hall wants to be respectful to the Sundance timeline.
“They’ve been the city’s and Kimball’s partner throughout the planning process,” Everitt said.
The website debuted at about the same time the Park City Council held a discussion about the arts and culture district that included one of the most detailed updates from City Hall staffers since the coronavirus spread. Staffers have outlined that the timing of the project could be advantageous amid financing rates that are historically low and the possibility of reduced construction costs.
The development, which would also include workforce or otherwise affordable housing and businesses in the field of arts and culture, is projected to cost nearly $70 million, plus the $19.5 million acquisition of the land. City Hall would recoup some of the monies through the sale of parcels to Sundance and the Kimball Art Center, as well as through the sale or lease of the housing.
Park City leaders see the arts and culture district as an important step in diversifying the local economy from one that has long relied on the ski industry.
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Mother Nature has not delivered any early gifts to Park City skiers and snowboarders. As December nears, the area is suffering through an especially dry spell of weather.