The Park Record editorial, December 23-27, 2011 |

The Park Record editorial, December 23-27, 2011

'Design by community' is a healthy exercise

This year, residents have had several opportunities to help steer the future of their community. Earlier this month, KPCW hosted a panel discussion entitled "Re-imagining Park City for the Next Generation" and now the Kimball Art Center is soliciting input on designs for its upcoming renovation project. Also, earlier in the year, the developer of Bonanza Park held a well-attended open house that featured a freewheeling discussion about what kinds of facilities citizens would like to see built in the new hub being planned along Kearns Boulevard and Bonanza Drive.

As 2011 comes to a close, we hope those discussions continue into the new year and that people from every demographic in our diverse town will participate.

The KPCW forum primarily focused on a variety of challenges including economic diversity, affordable housing, assisted living and encouraging the upcoming generation to assume leadership roles in the community. One panelist also implored residents to step up efforts to acknowledge and support the city’s growing population of immigrant workers. They are all important issues that, according to the 2010 Census, are likely to become even more pressing in the coming decade.

At the Bonanza Park open house, residents were not shy about listing services and amenities they see lacking in Park City. A university. Housing for senior citizens. Another city transit center. The discussion also addressed the tradeoffs between clustering the project’s density, necessitating taller structures but allowing for more pedestrian spaces, and spreading out the buildings, which would shrink the open spaces.

Another major project, this time at a critical intersection on Main Street, is also drawing emotional feedback. The Kimball Art Center is planning to "transform" the northwest corner of Main Street and Heber Avenue with a project that could attract significant attention to the city’s historic district. The proposed expansion of the art center has the potential to revitalize the city’s downtown for both year-round residents and visitors, but its success will depend heavily on thoughtful input from the community as the design is refined.

The communities surrounding Park City are also struggling to define their visions for the future. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission is in the grips of a heated debate about how to entice development without sacrificing the rural mountain environment that residents cherish. Proposed plans for a gondola connecting Canyons Resort with Solitude on the other side of the Wasatch Mountains, for a research park near the base of the Utah Olympic Park, and for a possible movie studio at Quinn’s Junction have all raised deep philosophical questions about planning, zoning and our collective identity as a community.

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We’d like to thank those who instigated those discussions, congratulate those who participated, and encourage everyone to make an ongoing commitment to be informed and engaged citizens.