Citizen group holds first meeting
Ryan Summerlin January 22, 2013
About 25 people attended the first meeting of a new citizen group, formed to serve as a go-between the Summit County government and residents.
"We had a nice-sized group sitting in a circle and coming up with our mission and vision statements. And people already started sharing things of interest to the community," said Sibyl Bogardus, group co-founder with Bassam Salem.
In particular, the group discussed developments in Park City, such as the Kimball Art Center, as well as the Snyderville Basin General Plan.
"The General Plan will affect Park City indirectly and directly, because it affects the entry way into Park City," Bogardus said.
The group consisted of home owners association presidents, property management representatives and general members of the community.
"They gave us very good input and different perspectives," she said. "One of the representatives was from Canyon Links (a townhome community in Jeremy Ranch where many of the owners are not full-time residents). One of our goals is to share our information with everyone in the community, even those who are not full-time residents, and that’s a big majority of property owners in the Park City and Greater Park City area."
The group remains nameless. A name was discussed, but no decision was made. Bogardus and Salem plan to put potential names to a vote via the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FriendsofGreaterParkCity .
"We spent time with some ideas around the name," Bogardus said. "I know there are names of other organizations that fit nicely into an acronym, but we didn’t go in that direction. In fact, we had some discussion about creating a simple name, such as Citizens Voice, Community Voice or Friends of Greater Park City."
Ultimately, the group plans to create a dedicated website to provide information to the community.
"We’ll have all the information an interested citizen can look at to get a complete picture of what’s going on in the county," she said. "Bassam and I think it’s very important to have a forum for informing the community, educating them and giving feedback to government officials."
Bogardus added that it’s better for the community to know what’s going on, and have input and interaction with government officials early in the process.
"If people are better educated, they can help guide what happens in the community from the beginning, rather than waiting until the project is essentially approved before they get involved," she said.
Though the group is currently focused on the Park City and Snyderville Basin areas, Bogardus said they want "community-wide engagement."
"We really want to involve everyone," she said. "There’s no wall between Snyderville Basin and Park City, and we don’t want there to be one. We want to include everyone."
There was discussion about whether to include Eastern Summit County into the group’s focus area, but Bogardus wasn’t keen on the idea.
"Frankly, I think it’s a bit much to take on when we’re first developing this. But maybe it could morph to include them later. Or we could work with them on a similar organization," she said.
Regardless, Bogardus said they haven’t received any interest from Eastern Summit County residents.
"But we’re certainly open to it," she added.
Overall, the group’s purpose is to create a cooperative atmosphere.
"We want to facilitate discussion in any direction," she said. "I know some of the discussions right now seem to coalesce people who are opposing certain developments, but that’s not the best place to start."
Craig Eroh, Treasurer and Secretary of a similar group, Citizens for the Alignment of Growth and the Environment (C.A.G.E), said there is room for cooperation and for "storming the Bastille."
Eroh added that he was impressed with the amount of input given by the attendees.
"It was a very open process," Eroh said. "They solicited input, and we took some polls and votes. I thought that was great. And I was very impressed with the process of getting the mission statement and goals together."
Eroh said he would send an update to C.A.G.E. and recommend the members visit the new group’s Facebook page and check it out.
"There’s room for many groups. To see more people interested in getting involved in the future of the community is great," he said.