Tom Clyde: Bonanza Drive Maverik’s closing is another step to Park City’s Disneyfication
Adventure’s first stop has made its last stop. The Maverik station on Bonanza drive closed. The City bought the property a couple of years ago, and has been slowly letting the neighborhood deteriorate to make way for the new Arts & Culture District. Before we’re through, it will have a more exciting name, but that’s what we’ve got for now. The Maverik has been an institution in town for around 30 years. It could be one of the oldest continuous operating businesses in town. The grocery stores have gone through multiple owners in that time, but Maverik has been Maverik.
I buy my gas at the Chevron in Kamas, primarily because they have great donuts. The gas is always a little cheaper, but mostly it’s the donuts. Maverik also has donuts, and in a pinch, there’s nothing wrong with them. Coffee and donuts at the Maverik has been a big part of Park City culture for a generation, with a gang of regulars who started every morning there. Cheap coffee, good-enough donuts, and reliable company: The morning equivalent of “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name.
The closure gives Maverik time to dig up and remove the gas tanks, and get ready to turn the place over to the City in September. I suspect they won’t be missing a lot of business this summer, and might as well do the work at a more leisurely pace. Someday, the snack bars in the grocery stores will reopen, and the Maverik refugees will relocate. Life goes on.
The closure leaves a town of 7,000 people, with maybe 15,000 tourists and commuters added to it, with only one normal gas station. Tiny Kamas has three. Quick digression: Once I was in the Top Stop, and the guy in line in front of me was buying a Coke and a donut. He handed the clerk a $100 bill, and apologized for not having “any change.” The guy behind me piped up and said, “In this town, that is change.” Anyway, in addition to giving Top Stop a near monopoly on gas, there is a fleet service place behind Deer Valley Lodging on Bonanza. I’ve never used it, but apparently with a credit card, anybody can buy gas there. But not donuts or coffee, and there’s no place to shoot the breeze with your pals before starting work or finishing a bike ride. So that’s really off the list. No culture.
I’ve never warmed up to the City’s grand vision of the Arts & Culture District. It’s not that I don’t like art or culture. It’s a sense that the whole town has become kind of an arts and culture theme park, and spending millions of public funds to do more is kind of gilding the lily. The anchors are Kimball Art Center, who abandoned the best location in town, and Sundance, who has enough vacant real estate in town that they ought to be able to do their own office building. But they are plowing ahead, assuming that there is a functioning economy in a year. Not exactly the time to be passing the hat to raise $40 million for a new building.
The old lumber yard and industrial stuff around that neighborhood is underutilized property. It was ripe for some kind of redevelopment, and I guess the plan includes sandwiching in a bunch of workforce housing and for some reason, parking and transit facilities. It feels like if you are that far into town, you’ve already made the traffic impact, and aren’t likely to park there and transfer to a bus for the last half-mile. Who knows if anybody will ever get on a bus again without being subjected to a complete physical exam and providing a certificate of health notarized by Dr. Fauci.
And what becomes of Maverik? Land in Park City is too expensive to replace it. There isn’t a vacant lot big enough. Maverik’s owned a site at the intersection of SR248 and Jordanelle Parkway for years. I don’t know their plans. Maybe they will build there now, but until there is a stoplight, it would be a suicide mission to drive across SR248 to get into it. It could have great potential. Maverik would immediately become the heart of downtown Hideout. For the people living in Hideout, there isn’t even a cup of coffee within a 20-minute drive. If Maverik opens up, they can buy milk, a loaf of déclassé bread, and pretty good donuts, with a pleasant, sociable place to sit and enjoy them with friends.
It will become the gathering spot for all those Hideoutians, possibly the center of Hideout’s Arts & Culture district. Someday the hockey-themed hotel across the street will be completed. Somebody shows up every couple of days and drives a few nails. But the Tyvek is still flapping in the wind after a couple of years, so I’m not holding my breath.
In the meantime, Park City has taken a giant step toward Disneyfication.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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Columnist Tom Clyde writes that the “area around Jordanelle Reservoir is a jurisdictional chowder gone bad.”