The Park Record Editorial July 30-August 1, 2008 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record Editorial July 30-August 1, 2008

Park City awaits next generation of leaders

There has been a lot of talk, of late, about the loss of "institutional memory" as a surprisingly large batch of longtime city and county officials have recently announced their retirements or decisions to move on. Frankly we are a little worried too — not so much about the loss of old friends who remember when we all had longer hair and stayed up later — but about who will step in to lead Park City and all of the smaller towns in the county.

With the notable exception of a small number who enroll in annual Park City’s Leadership class, there seems to be a dearth of 20- and 30-year-olds willing to step forward to create new organizations, take over leadership of existing ones or run for public office.

To be fair, we can understand why many of today’s young adults are cynical about politics or just plain too busy to take on the rigors of public service. But the fact is, civic action is never easy. It takes vision, determination and sacrifice.

In the 1970s and 80s Park City was lucky to attract a critical mass of residents who were willing to take on causes that had less to do with economic development and more to do with community building. Among them were JoAnn Krajeski, who died this week in a cycling accident and is remembered for her dedication to reviving community theater in Park City. Another is Rich Wyman who spearheaded the area’s first affordable housing group. There was Tina Lewis who orchestrated the renovation of several historic buildings in the city, Ann MacQuoid who helped establish the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, Brad Olch who served three terms as mayor and left a legacy of open space including the McPolin Farm. Others who helped the city through its transition from a mining town to a destination resort — like Police Chief Lloyd Evans, city engineer Eric Dehaan, and many others have moved on, too.

So, who will take their places and what causes will they champion?

We hope that young citizens who might not remember the Cozy Café or the Coal and Lumber restaurant but have a vision of how our communities should deal with the new challenges they face will run for office, will show up to petition city hall, will don armbands and wave protest signs like we once did. And if they do, we will all have a brighter future.

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