As it begins visioning, Park City inquires about what would, essentially, make community a Utopia

The environmentally friendly Electric Xpress bus is a highlight of the City Hall transit system. City Hall recently posted a survey as part of an effort to create a vision for the community that inquires about numerous issues, including transportation and the environment.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Park City wants to, essentially, learn what Parkites see as a future Utopia for the community.

City Hall recently posted a survey as part of a wide-ranging effort to create a vision that will help drive the municipal agenda from 2020 forward. Known as a visioning exercise, officials anticipate completing the work in 2020. Much of the information gathering is expected to occur this year.

Officials designed the 18-question survey to provide data that will be used as the vision is crafted later in the process. It is a nonscientific survey and will remain posted on the City Hall website through July 28. Officials estimate the survey can be completed in 10 minutes.

In one of the key questions, City Hall inquires about someone’s hopes for the community. It reads: “If you could create a perfect future for Park City, what would that future look like?” The answer field provides an opportunity for someone to write an answer rather than select from multiple choices.

It is a broad question and one that will likely draw a range of answers. The broadness of the question allows someone to define a future for Park City that involves numerous issues. It seems likely the answers will dwell on issues that City Hall already spends extensive time addressing, such as the closely related topics of housing and affordability as well as traffic and growth. Topics like those are regularly debated at City Hall and in the community at large.

The survey also inquires about opportunities for Park City over the coming five to 10 years as well as the community’s challenges over the same time period. It asks about Park City’s strengths and weaknesses and whether Park City missed unspecified opportunities.

The questionnaire, meanwhile, includes two sections dedicated to the importance of a set of topics to the next decade and how well Park City is performing on those topics. City Hall wants survey takers to rate the topics on a 1-to-10 scale. Some of the topics that are listed in the two questions include:

  • “abundant, preserved, and accessible open space”
  • “environmental impacts and carbon footprint reduction”
  • “housing affordability for all economic classes”
  • “resilient, sustainable, and thriving local economy”
  • “fostering an healthy, inclusive, and diverse community culture”

Other topics covered in the two sections include recreation, water resources, the small-town character of Park City, transportation and Park City’s reputation as what is referred to as a “world-class resort community.”

If you could create a perfect future for Park City, what would that future look like?

Park City survey

The topical questions are effectively the core of the survey as they probe specific issues. The answers to many of the topical questions will be illuminating as officials and rank-and-file Parkites learn how crucial some of the issues are to the populace alongside those that are not seen as critical. The topics are generally ones elected officials confront regularly in forums such as City Hall meetings and elections, and they cover the municipal government’s priorities.

The survey is posted amid the visioning discussions that are designed to assist leaders as they consider ideas for the work plan priorities. It is the first visioning exercise since 2009, a 10-year period of dramatic changes in the community.

The exercise 10 years ago was conducted as the effects of the recession started to dim the post-2002 Winter Olympic economic boom enjoyed by Park City. In the 10 years since, Park City emerged from the downturn with strength, leading officials to worry about the affordability of the community, particularly as it relates to housing.

Another important difference between 2009 and today involves the convulsions in the ski industry. Over that time, Vail Resorts acquired Park City Mountain Resort and combined the resort with Canyons Resort into a single property. Deer Valley Resort, meanwhile, went under the ownership of Alterra Mountain Company.

Many in the community remain uncomfortable with the ownership changes of the two mountain resorts, worrying they have brought a corporate vibe to a place that once saw itself as having an independent streak. There are concerns the ownership changes have exacerbated some of Park City’s challenges like traffic and affordability as the companies, offering multi-resort passes, draw large numbers of skiers.

The current visioning exercise is unfolding at a time when there are concerns with certain topics like affordability and traffic even as the municipal government and the elected officials have enjoyed a string of successes. Park City voters provided the funding for the Treasure and Bonanza Flat conservation acquisitions, the two most expensive in the history of City Hall’s open space program, and the elected officials have fared well in municipal elections, most notably Andy Beerman’s successful rise to the mayor’s office.

The survey is available on the municipal website.


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