Park City community pillars seen as including affordability, innovative transit
The long-running, communitywide efforts to craft a vision for Park City’s future are nearly completed as several themes have emerged that appear to align closely with the current work plan at City Hall, another indication that the municipal government enjoys the broad support of rank-and-file Parkites even as many are concerned about the future.
The so-called visioning exercise has lasted months and involved numerous Parkites weighing the direction of Park City. Mayor Andy Beerman on Tuesday is scheduled to deliver the State of the City address and is expected to discuss the visioning efforts in his remarks.
City Hall has released a draft of what are considered to be the strategic pillars that materialized over the months of the work. The strategic pillars cover a range of issues that the municipal government is already addressing with varying degrees of success. The strategic pillars seem to provide Park City’s elected leadership a mandate at some level to continue with the work already ongoing at the Marsac Building.
The strategic pillars likely cover issues familiar to Park City people who follow the municipal government even from afar. They have largely driven the community conversation for several years as Park City wrestles with the impacts, both positive and negative, of an era of economic boom.
The draft strategic pillars, as outlined in a report to the elected officials written in anticipation of a recent Park City Council retreat, are:
• affordability and equity, designed to cultivate and engage the community as disparities are addressed, according to the draft. One of the details includes putting in place policies that deter the growth of housing available for rent on a nightly basis and “shift balance back to residents, especially to create more workforce and family housing options.” Another detail involves developing “an intentional approach to support the needs of specific groups, including more seniors to age-in-place, affordable childcare, and housing opportunities for underserved groups.”
• environmental leadership, designed to protect, support and enhance ecosystems, the draft says. One of the details includes continuing to press toward City Hall’s goal of becoming a net-zero carbon emissions community through efforts like creating a fleet of vehicles powered by electricity. The report also says Park City should “pursue zero waste by 2030 by embracing a circular economy, where we reduce the consumption culture, design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; and regenerate our natural systems.”
• transportation innovation, designed to create transportation solutions that rely on multiple forms of transit. One of the details includes a crucial statement regarding Main Street. It says: “Transition Main Street and other key nodes, to be pedestrian oriented and largely car-free, by repurpose streets to pedestrians and away from single occupancy transit.” The report also mentions continuing to build transit routes for pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter riders as well as the possibility of Park City by 2030 offering a “’car-optional’ lifestyle.”
• sustainable tourism, designed to balance the quality of life of Park City residents and the experience of visitors. One of the details calls for the adoption of an approach for management of the impacts of tourism. It says Park City should “undertake a comprehensive review of the tourism property development pipeline, including the scale and penetration of nightly rental market, to set parameters and policies that shape workforce housing options, commercial housing requirements and accommodation balance at neighborhood levels.” It also wants Park City to “create deliberate gaps in event schedules and develop more community ‘protected spaces’ that provide locals with respite and enhance locals sense of contentment.”
• arts, culture and the Park City economy, designed to foster a diverse economy with entrepreneurship. One of the details outlines the possibility of leveraging a planned arts and culture district “to bolster our artisan cluster, adds extra dimension to the tourism economy and supplements the existing Main Street destination.” It also says the small businesses of Park City could grow “by stimulating a thriving ‘local scene’ of artists, fostering a strong local food network, and an encouraging entrepreneurial outdoor recreation and sustainable tourism industry.” The idea of exploring the potential of attracting additional businesses in the medical field is mentioned.
The visioning efforts are the first in Park City since 2009, a stretch of 11 years of change in a community that emerged from the recession with economic strength. The 11 years cover the realignment of the ski industry, including a change in ownership of Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort, traffic increases across Park City and gains in real estate prices.
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Sales-tax collections in Park City in July beat City Hall projections by a wide margin, providing a key data point that illustrates a nascent economic comeback of sorts from the spring business shutdowns.