Retired politicians in Park City sometimes live a low-key life in Park City, going back to their careers and only occasionally returning to the public stage.
There is a retired member of the Park City Council, one who served in the 1970s and 1980s, whose name is rarely associated with City Hall anymore. But in the nearly 30 years since he left the City Council, Bob Wells built a heralded career as a resort executive and a champion for work force housing.
Wells, the vice president of Deer Valley Resort and the president of the board of trustees of the not-for-profit Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, was recently honored for his service with the Mayor's Award of Community Excellence from the retiring Mayor Dana Williams.
"It ranks up there about as far up as you can get," Wells said in an interview about the honor from the mayor.
A Park City resident since 1971, Wells served two terms on the City Council from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s and sat on the city's Planning Commission prior to winning elected office. He is best known nowadays for his executive position at Deer Valley, helping propel the resort into the elite category of mountain resorts. Wells has especially been important in Deer Valley development matters. He has been involved with the Park City Chamber/Bureau as well.
In brief remarks during the recent City Council meeting when Wells received the honor, he talked about the importance of community service. He returned to the topic in an interview, saying that community service is widespread in Park City. He said his work at Deer Valley led him toward public service and dedicating time to not-for-profit organizations.
Wells recalled Deer Valley needing to provide work force housing as a part of the overall City Hall approval for the development of the resort. Those efforts led to his involvement in Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, a not-for-profit organization that assists people priced out of Park City's resort-driven real estate and rental markets.
Scott Loomis, the executive director of the housing trust, said in an interview Wells has had a "major impact on the community." Wells has served on the board of trustees since the organization's founding in 1993, Loomis said.
"He doesn't say a lot, but when he speaks, he has something to say, and people listen," Loomis said.
He noted that Wells was also instrumental in the founding of the Peace House, a domestic violence shelter. Wells said Deer Valley donated the land where the Peace House was built and he managed the construction. He was a member of the organization's board early on.
Bob Wheaton, the president and general manager of Deer Valley, said all Parkites are "a beneficiary" of Wells' work in Park City. He mentioned that Wells was a key figure as an agreement was reached years ago to set aside a swath of Deer Valley land in the vicinity of the Empire Express and Lady Morgan Express lifts through an instrument known as a conservation easement. Wheaton also said Wells championed the construction of Deer Valley Drive in the 1980s.
"You can't look anywhere around town without seeing Bob's influence," Wheaton said.