Dana Williams, the retiring three-term mayor of Park City, has been honored for his longtime public service, joining a list of elected officials and activists who have received the Community Leadership Award.
The Leadership Park City organization selected Williams for this year's award. He is the eleventh person to receive the annual honor. The award was given during an event at Silver Star Café earlier in October. Leadership Park City is a yearlong program meant to prepare participants to take on more important roles in the community. Williams graduated from the program in the mid-1990s.
In a statement accompanying the announcement, Leadership Park City calls Williams a "long time community fixture." Williams won the mayor's office in 2001 and took office in early 2002, a month before the opening of the Winter Olympics. He was not challenged when he won re-election in 2005 and then beat his predecessor in the mayor's office, Brad Olch, in 2009 to win a third term. Williams did not seek re-election this year.
Williams became well known in the 1990s as the leader of development watchdog Citizens Allied for Responsible Growth. Williams was the key figure in the group during the 1990s-era development dispute between the watchdog, City Hall and United Park City Mines about the project that would eventually be built as Empire Pass. The group, often referred to as CARG, remains the most successful local development watchdog although its activity has trailed off in recent years.
His political prospects were greatly enhanced by the high-profile dispute, leading to the successful mayoral campaign. He defeated a popular Park City Councilman in the 2001 election, one of the most hotly contested in the city's modern era.
"He ran for Mayor just prior to Park City hosting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the rest is history," the statement says.
Williams has focused on the broad idea of sustainability while in office, melding issues like the environment, the economy and development into an overarching ideal. He has supported a range of topics, including work force housing, transit expansion, land conservation and waterworks upgrades. His time in the mayor's office also encompassed the recession and Park City's rebound from the worst days of the economic downturn.
"Mostly he personifies the very spirit of the Park City lifestyle, through both thought and action," the statement says, calling Williams an "ambassador for the Park City brand" and saying "his personal stamp has been indelibly linked with the Park City character."
"He exemplifies the sustained leadership necessary to strengthen community institutions, the initiative to champion new and worthwhile programs, and the spirit to help define the public good," the statement says. "His tireless efforts to better our community (have) earned him tremendous respect and admiration. The tenacity with which he approaches community issues is an inspiration for us all."
He received the Community Leadership Award 2 1/2 months prior to his retirement from politics. It seems likely Williams will receive additional accolades and recognition before he leaves office in early January. The Community Leadership Award, though, is a well-respected honor that has been awarded to top tier figures in the Park City area over the years.
Past recipients of the Community Leadership Award are: