Guest Editorial, March 30-April 1, 2011
At this writing I am kicking around an idea of forming an organization to help foster the character and charm of "Old Park City." I am looking for people who are willing to take a stance and say, "Enough is enough!" I would like to gather the names and addresses of fellow citizens who are willing to participate. Nothing written below is set in concrete, and I’m sure many of you have better ideas or could twist or sharpen my slants to give them a real cutting edge.
The section of Park City known as Old Town is the finite treasure. It’s the original Park City that reflects our mining past and a unique history, which differs greatly from the surrounding areas. For several decades Park City Municipal Corporation has rewarded historical preservations with grants, matching grants and other awards. The Park City Historical Society and Museum have showcased historical homes with tours, awards, and placards. Still the wanton destruction in Old Town goes on unabated. Often the Municipal Planning Department is locked into the "letter of the law" and is powerless to stop the destruction.
Many members of the so-called designer community (consisting of architects, developers, speculators, contractors) seem to take delight with the destruction of historical buildings. There are those who will scheme, flatter city employees, search for loopholes, and at times threaten the city and individuals with lawsuits. If turned down, they will change their approach, change the name of the project, make a few rudimentary changes to their blueprints, etc., and reapply — again, and again until they succeed!
I would like to propose a new organization to act as a watchdog organization with the idea of bringing the destructors under a bright spotlight; and present them with a sort of "fickle finger of fate award." My idea is to borrow from the Jerry Seinfeld comedy show of television fame and name the organization the Art Vanderlay School of Design. The reward would be named the George award. A trophy of dubious honor would be presented to the winner, or maybe I should rephrase that to the wiener.
This organization could be expanded to include all Park City and outlying areas that reflect on Park City’s heritage. Any development that scars or destroys our mountains should be subject to close scrutiny.
Gary Kimball is a lifelong Park City resident and history buff who has written several books and numerous magazine articles about his hometown. You can reach him by phone at (435) 649-9115 or by email at email@example.com.