Community Questions about the Park City Arts and Culture District
Did you miss the recent virtual discussion and public hearing on the Park City Arts and Culture District? Catch a replay via the links below, and read below for additional Q&A with attendees.
3.29.21 Virtual Roundtable attendee questions:
Four to six years ago when the Arts District project was originally established, was there an arts and culture community-wide survey that we can access/ use as a resource to understand the needs of this focus group back then and possibly today?
Yes. We call it the Webb Study, but it is officially the "Park City Cultural Facilities and District Feasibility Study" by Webb Management Services, published in December 2017. It can be found online here.
Is there a plan to create transportation connections between the district, resorts, and Main Street?
Currently some bus connections exist between these nodes. The District's planned improvements would increase the capacity for more transit vehicles to connect to the District, make all vehicular traffic flow better, and provide attractive indoor and outdoor space for people to wait for buses (including public restrooms and a to-go food sales).
Planned active transportation improvements will create safer links for pedestrians and cyclists in all directions by adding multi-use pathways along Munchkin and Kearns between Bonanza and Park Ave. with buffers from cars. There will also be improved crossings at major intersections like Bonanza and Kearns and across Bonanza near Munchkin Road.
Can the Arts and Culture District be successful without the arts partners anchoring the project?
The City-owned facilities are designed to work in concert with the rest of the District as designed – to complement and enhance the offerings of the arts anchors – but can exist independently if the need arises.
We've heard a lot about art in the District, but what about the culture component?
The phrase "arts and culture" is used in a manner that intentionally doesn't strictly define what is to happen at this District; the project team uses the term "makers" as much as "artists" when thinking about what and who these facilities are for, meaning that this is a place for individuals to develop, practice, refine, and perhaps even market their craft, and in doing so reflect and manifest in the values and aesthetic of their community.
That craft could be something tangible – a unique piece of furniture, a painting, a clothing line, a spoken word recording – or it could be more ephemeral, like a one-time modern dance performance or an intricate ice sculpture. Culinary offerings are also a critically important component of culture, and the District will be a place where people can learn about, produce, and share food commercially and otherwise.
Will the Arts and Culture District help keep Sundance in Park City?
The Project partners all believe that co-locating benefits all involved and demonstrates a long-term commitment to the Park City community.
Will the Arts and Culture District impact surrounding businesses' ability to hire new employees?
Insomuch as there are some additional employment opportunities at the District, yes, but the addition of workforce housing at the District also means that area employees have more housing options close to their work.
What discussion has been had regarding the operation of the Arts and Culture District?
The project team has been researching how other arts districts are operated and programmed and is preparing an initial briefing for the project partners and the public. No decisions regarding operations and programming will be made without a thorough public process.
Why isn't the City exploring other options for the Bonanza Park property related to the City's Critical Community Priorities?
The District's proposed design and intent address the City's critical priorities by adding affordable housing units, prioritizing transit and pedestrian/bicycling infrastructure, and providing facilities for members of the Park City community that traditionally have had less access to municipal resources. The Arts and Culture District is public space for all residents and will be programmed to prioritize emerging artists and makers.
Why can't a private developer build affordable housing on this land?
A private developer may be able to partner with the City for the District's affordable housing component, depending on whether a phased approach is considered and if the financial approach of a private developer would accommodate the policy intent of the City Council.
There was a plan for an amphitheater behind the post office several years ago that never came to fruition. Is there a plan for one here?
Yes. The proposed design includes a sloped lawn at the north end of the public plaza with room for performances, outdoor film screenings, or more casual uses.
Can you speak to the intent of the District and who it is intended to serve - Locals? Tourists? Both?
The District is for locals first and foremost – the people who live and work in the Park City area, but even more specifically for the residents nearest or in Bonanza Park. Visitors will of course, be welcome here, but the primary intent – and the way the District is programmed will reflect this intent – is for Parkites.
Professional developers need/want to make a hearty profit - how will that keep with a local vibe accessible to all people, not just "high end" folks?
As proposed, this is not a for-profit development; the District's vision has always been to focus on the community's needs through ownership by the City and the partnering not-for-profit arts organizations. There will be opportunities for some small for-profit entities (a local artisan or food purveyor, for instance) to lease space from the City. Still, there is no intent to sell any of this District property to for-profit developers.
Besides Sundance Institute and Kimball Art Center has there been additional private investors interested in participation?
Several artists and local arts organizations have expressed interest in having a presence at the District, as have other non-profit organizations. Private developers have also contacted the project team about opportunities to build housing on site.
Back to finances, one of the questions is why have Kimball and Sundance not at a minimum signed a contract with significant earnest money? What is the holdup beyond they are experiencing delays in their building fundraising?
As with any complex business transaction, there are multiple deal points that require negotiation, mutual resolution, and, ultimately, contractual agreements. Both organizations were engaged in that process with the City when COVID struck last year. Kimball has paid down the purchase price according to the 2017 Letter of Intent totaling over $500,000 to date through rental payments to the City.
As the scope and plan of finance for the City-owned portions of the project are finalized, these negotiations will resume.
When you were considering this project, how did you see this new district interfacing with Main Street? It seems some of the concern is that visitors will be breaking up their spending unless we think this will also draw additional visitors.
The District has always been envisioned as complementary to and supportive of Main Street businesses. There is plenty of room for traditional Main Street businesses and the kinds of activities envisioned for the District, which is already bordered on three sides by small-scale commercial development. The District will have some spaces for more locally-focused emerging creatives who may not have access to Main Street storefronts or restaurant spaces, along with education, training, and event space.
Ultimately, when discussing aggressive affordable housing plans, even incorporated in an "arts and culture" district, the question of affordable for whom must be answered. Many expensive projects and acquisitions are mounting up for all taxpayers.
The project as proposed, including the affordable housing component, does not require raising taxes for anyone. It is funded primarily through sales taxes. The City Council ultimately decides what the rental rates will be for the housing units (and therefore the level of subsidy), irrespective of costs to construct the units.
Is the best example of an Arts District that is a public/private partnership the Aspen Institute? If not what existing facility is the best example for us to study?
We believe this is a unique project given the collaboration between the anchor arts organizations and the City, the site location and configuration, and the vision for the District. That said, the policymakers and the project team have studied a number of other arts/culture/maker developments. Here are a few:
Many years ago, the tech park out at Kimball Junction was an attempt to broaden the economy…that did not work out. If either Kimball Arts or Sundance don't step up, could we face the same issue?
The City owns the entire District parcel at this time. If there was any need to change the use from what is proposed, the City would have the ability to do so.
If the City votes not to proceed with the Arts and Culture District as envisioned, to what possible higher use can it put this parcel to benefit the Park City community?
The project team believes the proposed District is the optimal combination of uses for this public land – it's "highest and best use" – based on the community's desire to create a place for locals, support local artists and arts organizations, and build better transportation infrastructure.
How does this fit in with our four critical priorities?
The District's proposed design and intent address the City's critical priorities by adding affordable housing units, prioritizing transit and pedestrian/bicycling infrastructure, and providing facilities for members of the Park City community that traditionally have had less access to municipal resources. The Arts and Culture District is a public space for all residents and will be programmed to prioritize emerging artists and makers.
We went through a comprehensive master cultural arts plan for Park City; I wonder if any is still relevant.
Yes, most definitely. See the Webb Study here for reference.
How does the City justify the Kimball Art Center aspect of the entire cost?
Kimball Art Center will pay for its own building and the land upon which it will be located. The City agreed in 2017 to build the housing and parking needed for the District as a whole because both provide a public benefit and add to the value of the District.
3.31.21 Public Hearing attendee questions:
What is the ROI of renting out a $640k affordable housing unit? That cost seems astronomical without context on when that investment can be utilized to fund additional affordable housing projects.
The affordable housing units are likely to cost closer to $400-$450,000 per unit to build. The City will determine rental rates based on what income levels of the prospective occupants it decides to target. The goal has never been to break even on affordable housing development but instead to foster community and a sense of place.
The "future home of Kimball and Sundance HQ" was not addressed by the architect. Where will those facilities reside, and how will they be utilized? I was envisioned office space would be needed for their staff.
There are designated parcels of land for each of the partnering anchor arts organizations. They are in the process of designing their respective buildings using their own design firms.
Can we slow it down and start with the affordable housing, which it looks like we have the funding for. Then as we find more funding can we add on?
The City Council is exploring phasing options for the City-funded portions of the District.
What is the expected financial impact on tourism to the local economy? Will the Arts and Culture District be marketed a specific geography and target market?
As of now, there are no specific plans to market the District to visitors.
The neighboring square, Prospector Square does indeed request and require connectivity to this Arts and Culture District. And beyond that, could the City also help the existing square flourish? We have real estate that offers public gathering spaces that can connect the two. Put funds into the existing community too. If this project goes forward, we cannot be left behind in this huge endeavor.
Given its proximity to the project area, Prospector Square will benefit as the District is developed particularly because of enhanced transportation connections and the presence of additional residents and facilities that complement its neighbors. There will be opportunities to partner on programming and activation strategies as well that could include the public spaces at Prospector Square and other adjacent commercial developments in the area.
I think it is great to include Prospector Square! That is a highly underutilized area. I'm curious what type of connectivity you are imaging? We have the pedestrian crosswalks on Bonanza, which easily connect to the Rail Trail and the crosswalk at the Kearns/Bonanza light. I'm just wondering what is the connectivity vision of Prospector Square.
In the short term, improved pedestrian crossings on Bonanza Drive (i.e., raised crosswalks, pedestrian signals, signage, and street design changes) are planned to make that connection safer and more accessible. The City is studying more transformational options as well, such as a bridge or tunnel to connect the District to Prospector Square, the Rail Trail, and south to Old Town.
How do you plan to involve people with disabilities?
By ensuring that the District is designed at the outset for access by people of all abilities, and by evaluating any programming and activation decisions through the lens of those with different abilities to ensure access and prevent inadvertent exclusion.
Learn more and find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Arts and Culture District on the FAQ tab located on the top right of this page.