Park City may be losing signs of mining heritage

Park City may be losing signs of mining heritage

As the boom in this former mining town increasingly draws people and their creature comforts to its destination ski resorts and lodges, Park City has some tough decisions to make.

A new report warns that continued construction and remodeling could cost the town its spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Modifications being made to aging buildings and new construction that is inconsistent with the old mining town feel, may be diminishing the town’s historic value.

Those are among the findings in the “Historic Property Inventory,” a report by consultants Dina Blaes and Beatrice Lufkin. The City Council commissioned the one-year study so it could pinpoint the number of historic structures.

“Park City’s Main Street Historic District has undergone changes over the last two decades (that) have diminished its integrity and could result in delisting from the National Register of Historic Places,” the report states.

The report cites newer projects, such as the six-level, 94,000-square-foot Sky Lodge being built near Park City’s Historic Main Street, as well as older construction like the Main Street Mall — a large contemporary building erected in the 1980s — as encroachments to historic value.

The inventory identified a stark reduction in Main Street buildings that comply with National Historic Register requirements. From 1979 to 2006, the number of Main Street structures that met that definition fell from 65 to 34. Most were remodeled to the point they no longer qualified for the register.

“I have a picture of my mother on Main Street with a cocktail and three buildings on fire. Nobody was putting them out, because no one gave a damn back then,” said Park City Mayor Dana Williams. He said the city has made great efforts in the last 25 years to ensure its historic district survives.

“Park City has to decide: ‘Do we want to embrace national criteria? Or are economic pressures so great we want to develop our own criteria?’ ” Blaes said.

Among the report’s recommendations is that the city adopt more-stringent design guidelines and standards in the Main Street Historic District.

But some trade-offs are necessary in a small, historic town that has morphed into a world-class destination, said City Councilman Jim Hier.

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