Historic Park City Alliance names new president
December 18, 2015
Sandra Morrison has been the executive director of the Park City Museum for nearly 20 years. She has seen businesses come and go on Main Street and has witnessed the historic district change, then change again.
Now, as Morrison steps into a new role as president of the Historic Park City Alliance, she believes that having years of experience on Main Street is one of her greatest strengths. Morrison was recently elected to the position after previous president Becca Gerber stepped down after winning a seat on the City Council.
Morrison had previously been serving since July as vice president of the Alliance, an organization that represents the interests of businesses on or near Main Street.
"My experience is having that history — I don’t know that I would necessarily call it institutional knowledge — but definitely quite a bit of history of the street and where we come from," Morrison said, adding that she sees it as an exciting time for the Alliance. "And of course being a local historian by trade, I like to think that we can learn from the past."
Morrison takes over as president during another period of transition for Main Street, as commercial rents are rising and the presence of Vail Resorts in Park City means the town’s historic district is increasingly visible on a national and global scale. In short, there are plenty of issues the Historic Park City Alliance is gearing up to face.
Among those issues is figuring out what should be done about several buildings that aren’t occupied on a year-round basis, Morrison said. Determining the Alliance’s role in maintaining a desirable tenant mix along Main Street as more large-scale retailers take an interest in Park City will also be a focus of her time as president.
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"We think it’s very important to have the mom-and-pop stores along the street," she said. "We have a really great mix right now, but we’re talking about what the future is for Main Street and keeping the focus on where we’re going."
The most important thing the Alliance has going for it as it examines those issues, Morrison said, is an engaged base of business owners.
"With everybody talking about these topics, we can come up with solutions," she said. "And our challenges aren’t unique to Park City. We need to look at what other towns are doing and come up with some creative solutions that will work for our town."
For her part, Gerber said she is leaving the Alliance in good hands with Morrison. Gerber was elected president in July but was then elected to the City Council in November. She stepped down from the alliance to avoid a conflict of interest and said the organization was well-prepared for the transition.
"When I came into the position, we knew this was going to be a possibility," she said. "But I was really excited to be involved. So it would be great to have a little bit more time, but at the same time I’m very excited to be able to take on my new role."
Gerber added that she sees her time as president as being a valuable tool that will benefit her as a City Councilor.
"The perspective of business owners — and especially Main Street business owners — is sometimes very different than what the community is looking at," she said. "So it’s really important to be able to take into consideration both perspectives when making decisions. It’s about finding that very fine balance."
Morrison is excited to officially take over for Gerber when the Alliance’s meetings resume after the New Year. She previously served on the organization’s executive board in the early 2000s before becoming heavily involved in the Alliance again about four years ago, and she says it fills a valuable role in Park City.
"Main Street is the crown jewel of Park City," she said. "It’s our historic district that makes us different from other ski resort towns. And part of the Historic Park City Alliance mission is we want to promote our uniqueness. I feel like I can absolutely bring that focus to the table."
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