Mayoral challengers: keep Park City Park City, don’t make it urban |

Mayoral challengers: keep Park City Park City, don’t make it urban

The two Park City mayoral candidates faced each other during a candidate forum on Tuesday night, addressing the broad issue of growth as they touched on numerous topics three weeks before voters will head to the polls.

The Project for Deeper Understanding, an issues-oriented group, hosted the forum with Park City Councilman Andy Beerman and Park City Planning Commissioner Jack Thomas at the Santy Auditorium. It was a rare chance for Parkites to hear exclusively from the two candidates for the city’s top office. Other forums have generally featured the City Council candidates as well.

Growth has been the predominant issue in Park City elections for decades, and the two candidates have spoken extensively their ideas for future development in the city. The forum on Tuesday did not focus on individual projects, but some were mentioned, though.

Thomas, as a Planning Commissioner and an architect, has a more extensive background in the topic than Beerman does. Beerman, who has business interests on Main Street, has been heavily involved in growth discussions, though, as a City Councilor and as a former leader of the Main Street merchants.

"We want to keep Park City Park City," Thomas said during the event, referring to a widely used phrase in City Hall circles describing a desire to ensure growth does not fundamentally change the community.

Thomas said significant growth is inevitable over the next decade.

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Beerman also said growth will occur, envisioning a community with a broader year-round economy in coming decades. He also said Park City could handle more people but not more traffic, saying that additional pedestrian connections are important.

The prospects for a major redevelopment of the Bonanza Park district were discussed amid the talk of growth. Neither of them spoke extensively about the topic, and Thomas was especially hesitant since he is heavily involved in the formal discussions as a member of the Planning Commission.

"Nobody wants to see this town urban," Beerman said about Bonanza Park.

Other topics covered at the event included:

  • their plans for the first 100 days in the mayor’s office should they win. Beerman said he would start work on his campaign issues, such as expanding connectivity in Park City. Thomas said he would transform the communications at City Hall.
  • their opposition to a consultant’s recent idea of putting housing on the municipal golf course to increase availability. Thomas noted the critical reaction while Beerman said the consultant was being provocative by outlining the idea.
  • ideas to combat crime, particularly drugs, in Park City. Beerman said both the Park City Police Department and the wider municipal government could offer educational programs. Thomas said additional outreach efforts are needed.
  • their opposition to a property-tax increase. Thomas said he does not envision City Hall increasing its share of property taxes during the next mayoral term. Beerman said a tax increase should only be considered in dire circumstances.
  • Beerman’s ideas for connections between the mountain resorts and Park City with gondolas, funiculars or other transit options. He also mentioned connecting the three area mountain resorts, saying doing so would boost the economy and reduce traffic.
  • a statement by Thomas that additional awareness programs are needed to encourage water conservation.

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