Park City’s unelected officials
November 5, 2013
My deadline to turn this column in every week is Monday morning. Which means by the time it arrives in your driveway, nicely folded into its green plastic bag, approximately 40 hours have passed since I hit "send" on the email this was attached to.
For the most part, that 40-hour lapse doesn’t really matter. Most of my musings don’t have a cutoff date. But the morning after an election is different. It feels odd to have a new president, senators, city council or mayor and not have an opinion about them in Wednesday’s paper.
Though it would be nice to have a crystal ball on the Monday before the first Tuesday of every November, to some degree it probably doesn’t really matter who our new mayor and two city council members are. Because when it comes to who really makes a difference in this town, who really makes things happen and makes Park City an awesome place to live — it’s not our elected officials. It’s our nonprofits.
The charitable organizations calling Park City home do far more for this town than anyone in the Marsac building ever could.
Your kid has amazing potential, but you can’t afford to keep him in ski lessons? There’s a nonprofit waiting to assist. Lost your wallet? Found a pair of car keys? Don’t worry, there’s a nonprofit happy to help. Love seeing moose and elk and want to keep them safe? Want a dog to keep you company as you hike on a hazard-free trail that wraps around pristine and protected open space? Need a place to take the empty wine bottle evidence from last night’s "book club" or want to hone your skills as an artist, enjoy live music or catch a free flick? Don’t worry, there are nonprofits for all for all of that too.
In fact, there are so many nonprofits, another nonprofit, Park City Community Foundation, was created a few years ago to help other organizations raise money and get the word out about their services and programs.
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"There are about 85 nonprofit organizations in the Park City area," says Katie Wright, Programs Director with Park City Community Foundation. "All of them are extremely dedicated to their cause and have a huge impact on the way we enjoy life in Park City," she added.
But the quality of life we enjoy because of these organizations doesn’t come cheap. That dog you adopted from Furburbia? Friends of Animals paid for his vaccinations, food and shelter before you came along. The inspiring discussion with the filmmaker you participated in after seeing a free movie at the Jim Santy? The Park City Film Series worked hard behind the scenes to make that unique experience possible. The long hike you enjoyed last weekend wouldn’t have been possible without Mountain Trails Foundation and Summit Land Conservancy, who create and maintain the trails and secure open space, respectively. The dinner you had last weekend at your favorite restaurant? You didn’t catch the flu because your server received low-cost preventive healthcare from the People’s Health Clinic.
"With so many nonprofit organizations in town, it can be easy to overlook their impact," Katie acknowledged. "But what they do matters to all of us — residents, visitors, young, old, male and female. Anyone who has ever spent more than a few hours in this town has benefited from one of these organizations."
That’s one of the reasons the team at Park City Community Foundation created the Live PC Give PC campaign — 24 hours of giving that begins at midnight and runs all day Friday. The goal this year is to raise $750,000 for Park City’s nonprofits from 3,500 different donors; a goal that is tracked in real time at http://www.LivePCGivePC.org . And as the red line on the thermometer-shaped icon goes up, so too does our quality of life here.
"Last year, we were able to save 89 acres in the Weber River Watershed and 50 acres on Risner Ridge above Park Meadows," says Cheryl Fox, executive director of the Summit Land Conservancy. "The money we raise here stays here, and saves the local landscapes that make Park City and Summit County home."
But Friday’s donations don’t just save our land, they also save our landfills. Last year, Recycle Utah was able to keep 17,268 pounds of old ski gear — poles, helmets, boots, snowboards and the like — out of the dump. A service that is only possible because of the Live PC/Give PC campaign.
"This is a very unique, local and expensive recycling need. And we can only offer it because of the funds we get during the day of giving," says Insa Riepen, the executive director of Recycle Utah.
Those are just two examples of how one day of donations enhances life in Park City all year long. Every nonprofit has a story about how your contributions on this special day help make Park City a better place to live.
So no matter who our freshly elected mayor and city council members are, this Friday, remember those who really influence our quality of life by donating to your favorite nonprofit organization. Visit http://www.LivePCGivePC.org this Friday!
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.