City owes much of its charm to the caretakers of historic properties
Taken one project at a time, renovating a 100-year-old ramshackle shack or a dilapidated old boarding house doesn’t pencil out. Building from scratch is always easier and less expensive than the painstaking challenge of preserving a historic landmark. But taken all together, the combined effect of more than 100 beautifully preserved buildings has turned Park City’s once depressed Old Town district into a charming destination and, not coincidentally, a thriving real estate market.
That is great news for those who invested in the historic district two decades ago, but it has put even more pressure on property owners to deviate from the small-scale structures of yesteryear in favor of building out as much as local zoning ordinances will allow.
So, this weekend, with gratitude and great respect we will take time to recognize those who have chosen preservation over new construction. The Park City Historical Society’s annual Historic Home Tour takes place today and will wrap up with an awards ceremony honoring those who have taken concrete steps to preserve Park City’s past.
Saving each building has been a struggle fueled by a passion for Park City’s colorful heritage that would not have been possible without the commitment of those who have financed and painstakingly rebuilt each structure. Their efforts are even more noteworthy this year when considered against the backdrop of today’s steadily increasing real estate values. Their efforts have enriched the entire community
Park City Municipal and the Park City Historical Society have also been instrumental in providing support (and pressure, when warranted) for historic preservation. The city’s matching grant program has helped property owners maintain essential historic signatures, like hand-carved trim and custom paint, while the annual preservation awards and home tours, like the one taking place today, give residents and visitors the opportunity to peek inside and to personally thank the owners for their priceless contributions to Park City’s charm and individuality.
Today’s home tour runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and tickets are available at a cost of $20 ($15 for P.C. Historical Society members) at the Park City Museum, 528 Main St. and on the corner of Park Avenue and Fourth Street.
This year’s event spotlights 16 projects on upper Park Avenue and Woodside. But the tour should also serve as an annual reminder to appreciate each of the historic projects throughout the city and to redouble our efforts to save the few treasures still in need of repair.
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Jim Arnold of Jeremy Ranch writes that the community cannot continue to operate without a long-range plan for development.