KEEPING MAIN STREET LOCAL
We’re losing local businesses on Main Street. The city is doing a good job of eliminating empty storefronts. However, the proliferation of national brand franchise stores jeopardizes the unique character and independence of our Historic Park City shopping district. We have to realize that it isn’t just vague market forces driving this transition. Park City is spending tens of millions of dollars to improve Historic Main Street, adding granite sidewalks, nicely lit paver crosswalks and a new plaza next to the Wasatch brew pub. The more we do to enhance the Main Street experience, the more we can expect business rents to rise. The city is part of the problem and needs to be a bigger part of the solution. Keeping Main Street local will require city council to make a series of difficult and possibly controversial code changes. Failing to do so means we risk losing more independent retailers and watching Historic Old Town become overrun with mall stores.
SUPPORTING LOCAL SERVICES
As our population grows and land parcels become more scarce and costly, many local businesses are at risk of being forced out of the city to make way for new development. Grocery stores, gas stations, dry cleaners, auto repair and other key services are vital to our thriving local community, particularly those accessible by public transportation and trails. he recent proposal for the redevelopment of the corner of Bonanza Drive and Kearns Blvd eliminates one of Park City’s two gas stations, a coffee shop, an urgent care center, Anaya’s Market and several other businesses. When properties are developed without consideration of keeping local businesses in town, our growing population is forced out of the city to access these key services, exacerbating our traffic and congestion issues. The city must improve planning and zoning in our commercial districts to ensure that lodging and affordable housing developments include critical services and retail, as well.
REDUCING EVENT IMPACTS
Someone coined the term “event fatigue” and I think it’s a great expression. We love our local events! But as they grow in number and attendance, we are faced with substantially more traffic congestion, increased parking limitations and noise, and shrinking access for locals to recreation and events, all of which significantly impact our quality of life. SEAC, the Special Events Advisory Committee, is currently evaluating Park City’s carrying capacity to assess the city’s ability to adequately support its proliferating events. It is possible that we will eventually need to set limits on both the size and quantity of events in Park City. We also need to step up enforcement of our city’s noise and parking ordinances. Additional mitigation of event impacts to residents must be a top priority.
PROMOTING JUDICIOUS SPENDING
Our improved and expanding economy has been a boon to our community, but local businesses and residents are feeling significant impacts from Park City’s dramatically rising cost of living. Over the last few years, we’ve seen water prices skyrocket and they will increase by yet another 6% this year. The recently added stormwater fee will increase by another 50% over two years. We have increased sales tax by .5% for transit funding, making ours the second highest in Utah. A $25 million bond was passed for Bonanza Flat. The highly anticipated school bond is expected to exceed $100 million, with an additional tax hike proposed to support expanding school staffs. The county is discussing a property tax hike of up to 27%. While city and county efforts to increase affordable housing are commendable, the cost of living for ALL homeowners is escalating. Long-time residents are leaving Park City and moving to more affordable areas, like the Kamas and Heber Valleys. While some of these expenses are outside the city’s control, our first choice can’t always be to place the financial burden on locals. Financial responsibility requires prioritizing and making tough choices. If we allow Park City’s cost of living to grow unchecked, we risk losing our diversity as a community.