County, city form task force
Ryan Summerlin May 3, 2013
The Park City and Summit County councils are joining forces to create a mutually beneficial landscape for the county.
"I think if we work together and share our knowledge and proactively strategize and plan what we want to see in our community, we’ll be much more successful," Summit County Council Chair Claudia McMullin said during a joint meeting on Tuesday, April 30.
McMullin added that the county has never been proactive in "shaping" its future.
"But you’ve been very good at doing that," she said to representatives from Park City Municipal Corporation. "This is something we can work together on so we don’t have that miscommunication and misfire," she said.
The joint meetings may be held as often as every other month moving forward, with the next scheduled Tuesday, July 29.
"These conversations are so very important because you guys have as much invested in the Park City brand as we do," Park City Councilmember Liza Simpson said. "If you’re traveling through an attractively-designed and well-designed distance from the freeway to the nirvana spot, then brand isn’t harmed. Then we’re not just talking about square footage but how that square footage is played out."
Park City Mayor Dana Williams agreed that what happens around Park City affects the city.
"If people are driving through sprawl and subdivisions to get to the little nirvana spot, and it looks just like where they came from, it’s going to be, ‘why did I come here to be involved in grid lock and traffic?’"
Summit County Councilmember Dave Ure agreed that Summit County should keep the business community focused on the resort economy, but said he sees a lot of businesses coming into Summit County that don’t reflect that.
"They just want to be associated with the Park City name," he said. "They want to be here to be part of the overall atmosphere or social events that take place in Park City."
McMullin said that while the county is, in part, resort-based, with Canyons, numerous other businesses also reside in the county, such as backcountry.com and Skullcandy.
"If we could actually attract a million square-foot high tech business, it would be an economic driver that would supplement the resort-based economy," she said. "We need to keep a diverse economic base in order for us as a County Council to be able to provide the level of service that this community demands and expects."
Simpson said the city is also looking for businesses to complement its resort economy.
"If we want to attract a company that only needs 1,500 square feet, it would fit into Bonanza Park, whereas if it needs one million square feet, it would be here in the county. I don’t think the businesses are that different between what we’d like to attract."
Park City Councilmember Andy Beerman added that the city and county should continue to work together to increase efficiency, as they have in the school districts, and on recreation and open space initiatives.
"Maybe we need to constantly be looking at those," he said.
"Are there ways we can help service everyone better through our efficiencies, where we don’t need redundancy of our services," Beerman asked.
To work toward that end, the councils formed an economic development task force, which plans to meet in the next couple of weeks and then report to the joint councils in July.
The task force is comprised of representatives from both the city and county, including McMullin, Beerman, Summit County Councilmember Roger Armstrong, Summit County Manager Bob Jasper, Park City Manager Diane Foster, Park City Economic Development Manager Jonathan Weidenhamer and Summit County Economic Development Specialist Alison Weyher.