Olch wins Rademan Hospitality Award
The Park City Chamber/Bureau recently named former mayor Brad Olch as the recipient of the 2006 Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award, adding him to the short list of honorees in the four-year existence of the tribute.
"I think, in terms of how the Chamber looks at the award since we created it, the award recognizes the people who have left a significant mark on the hospitality industry in Park City," said Bill Malone, executive director of the Chamber/Bureau. "I think if you look at the recipients in a historical perspective, they have all left their mark on Park City from a hospitality and tourism standpoint."
Since it was first given to and named for Park City Public Affairs Director Myles Rademan in 2003, winners have been Nick Badami, Stein Eriksen and now Olch. Olch said he is humbled to be listed in such good company.
"It’s one of those things where I’m honored, but I think they must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel," Olch said. "But I was very humbled and honored and very proud."
Olch moved to Park City from Salt Lake in 1976 and has been involved in the community ever since.
When he arrived, water in Park City was sold like an all-you-can-eat buffet everyone pays the same no matter how much they consume. Olch served on the water rate board when meters were first installed, helping set the standard for water prices in Park City.
"I think it was just the ladder — I actually had no interest in politics whatsoever," he said. "I was appointed to the water rate board in the 80s, and I was appointed just because I was the largest water user in town, and then people asked if I wanted to be on the planning commission. I filled out an application and I was accepted."
He served on the Park City Planning Commission for five years, including two terms as chairman. Then he moved to elected positions.
He ran for a seat on the City Council. Halfway through his first four-year term as a councilman he ran for mayor, a position he held for 12 years before deciding not to run for a fourth term.
Many of his actions as mayor stood out to the Award Committee, including his active role in bringing the 2002 Olympics to Park City and performing over 200 weddings as mayor and donating the proceeds to a tree fund used to beautify Park City.
"It turned out that the mayor before me would do weddings all the time and he didn’t ask for money," Olch said. "I didn’t want the money, but took donations for the Mayor’s Tree Fund."
He used the fund for landscaping, beautifying the cemetery, putting lilacs and trees around the city as well as for a city park.
"Usually what would happen is that the Parks Department would come to me and say, ‘We’d like to put in some more trees here,’ and because we had the money in the Mayor’s Tree Fund we could do it," he said.
Olch said he hopes his legacy is more than just the Olympics, although he recognizes the effects the Olympics had on Park City were invaluable. He said he wants part of his legacy to be open space, the preservation of the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail, over 300 affordable housing units, the Library and Education Center, the McPolin Barn and Huntsman Gateway Park.
"It took me three or four years, but I got Jon Huntsman to donate 33-or-so acres to Park City as public ground," he said. "The last deal I did right before I went out of office was putting together the whole Round Valley package of open space."
But Rademan, for one, wants to make sure no one forgets exactly how pivotal Olch’s role in bringing the Olympics to Park City was, or the impact of the event on the local community.
"Since it’s the four-year anniversary of the Olympics coming here and there are a lot of people who either don’t know about his involvement or have forgotten about his involvement, it was an appropriate time to give him the award," Rademan said. "So much of what Park City is benefiting from now is a result from that experience. It was a real maturing time for us."
Rademan also made the point that with how quickly Park City is changing, those, like Olch, who have been building the community for 30 years need to be recognized.
"We all looked at it and realized that he was sort of an unsung hero," Rademan said. "There’s no doubt he was the driving force behind the Olympics. We all made it happen, but he was the force behind everything. He’s the one who showed us how to do it."
Ultimately, Rademan said he is humbled to have Olch receive an award named after him.
"I think all the people who have gotten it have deserved it more than me," he said. "I’m honored have received the same award as all of them. It’s just a matter of guilty by association."
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.