Park City draws city refugees
PARK CITY, Utah – Driven by buyers seeking to escape heat, taxes, and crowds, home sales surged in Park City and adjacent areas during the first quarter of this year, reaching volumes unmatched for winter months since 2007.
New condominiums priced in the $400,000 range powered some of this growth in sales volume. Also pushing sales were single-family homes in an outlying area near Jordanelle Reservoir. Buyers were mostly people looking for a second home, but at a lower price point than the $1.2 million average price of a home in Park City’s high-profile Old Town neighborhood.
Local real-estate agents tell The Park Record that the people buying into Park City tend to come from warmer-climate states of Florida and Texas, and metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. Marcie Davis, president of the Park City Board of Realtors, further identifies a non-traditional motive for buyers: “They are coming here more and more for the summer.”
Carol Agle, another agent, further noted new impetus for Californians to relocate to Park City. People making $1 million a year in California get dinged by the state income tax at a 13 percent rate, compared to 5 percent in Utah.
Further evidence of economic recovery is found in plans for redevelopment of an area called Bonanza Park. The 19-acre parcel north of downtown currently has 357 housing units and 137 businesses.
Park City’s comprehensive plan envisions a denser, more urban environment in the neighborhood, with blocks 275 feet by 325 feet, encouraging more walkability and use of buses. This design is projected to draw a diversity of residents, including millenials, or those people born between 1980 and 2000.
That plan also projects development occurring gradually, building by building, such as is commonly found in older downtowns. “The evolution of architectural design created over time will lead to an authentic, diverse district,” the document says.
Owning over half the land is a development company co-owned by Mark J. Fischer and Paul DeJoria. The latter is a bearded billionaire from Texas who made his fortune in Paul Mitchell and other hair products.
Fischer tells The Park Record that he hopes to file a proposal that would be the first significant redevelopment in Bonanza Park by mid-June. He also speaks about more of an “upscale vision” for Bonanza Park.
The benefits of composting toilets
ASPEN, Colo. – Rio Grande Park is more or less in the middle of Aspen, sandwiched between the Roaring Fork River and the Pitkin County Courthouse. It gets high use from rugby, soccer, and others engaged in sweaty pursuits.
These users will now have composting toilets for their use. The technology sold by Clivus Multrum, a company that has been around since 1973, uses 95 percent less water than even newer-generation toilets, which use 1.6 gallons per flush. Even water used for restroom sinks bypasses sewage treatment and is instead routed into a tank and then fed just below the surface of a flower garden.
Don Mills, sales director with Clivus Multrum, tells the Aspen Daily News that composting toilets allow the waste to dehydrate and become fertilizer.
He contends that water-based sewage treatment isn’t benign to human health. “It is a great mistake to put our waste into water,” he said. He explained that pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, are now commonly found in water supplies, even after sewage treatment. That danger posed by pharmaceuticals is greatly reduced with a composting toilet system.
These compostable toilets don’t come cheap, however, at least in Aspen: $556,000 for the complex, although that’s still less than the $763,000 restrooms provided at another Aspen park 12 years ago.
Contributing $100,000 says the Daily News, was Theater Aspen, which stages summer performances in a nearby pavilion.
Glacier Skywalk now open
JASPER, Alberta – It’s now up to the jury to decide whether the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park profanes the natural setting or assists those seeking to appreciate that setting.
The glass-bottomed skywalk opened on May 1, allowing patrons to peer through their feet 280 metres (920 feet) into the canyon of the Sunwapta River. This is along the Columbian Icefields, about halfway between the towns of Lake Louise and Jasper.
Brewster Travel Canada spent $21 million (Cdn.) on the structure, which won the World Architecture Festival’s Future Projects Category Award in 2011. The Calgary Herald explains that the skywalk is anchored into the cliff with 200 metric tons of steel.
A number of environmentalists and Jasper residents opposed it because of concerns about privatization of a national park and potential ecological impact, particularly to mountain goats. Parks Canada approved the project after overseeing an environmental assessment that concluded in 2012.
To venture out onto the glass costs $25 for adults, $12.50 for kids.
For visuals, head to the Brewster gallery.