Park City economy an ‘anomaly’ |

Park City economy an ‘anomaly’

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Officials in Summit County are deciding whether to join the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, which could attract more manufacturers to the area.

"Our mission boils down to creating quality jobs and capital investment in Utah," said Colleen Burke, senior business development manager for the group.

Companies like Chaco, which makes footwear, are eager to relocate to ritzy mountain towns, she claimed.

"There are all ends of the spectrum," Burke said. "There are a lot for really small manufacturers."

Meanwhile, a health care firm from Korea is exploring the development of a $2 billion resort for cancer patients in Summit or Wasatch County, Burke told the Summit County Commission last week.

Commissioner Bob Richer countered that many western Summit County residents do not want more businesses in town.

"There is absolutely no interest whatsoever, on the west side of Summit County, in attracting businesses and industry that also requires a need for more housing," Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said.

The Park City area is an "anomaly" for economic development, Richer explained.

"Certainly, western Summit County is a lot different than eastern Summit County," he said.

Burke claimed to understand the philosophical divide that separates more urban surroundings in Park City from their rural East Side counterparts.

"We get the East-West thing. It was pounded into our head and we get it," she said.

Park City Municipal joined the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and officials are debating whether Summit County should pay $6,000 per year to become a member.

"It wouldn’t hurt us a bit for both sides of the county to take a look at what is going to be happening with the future of the destination ski business," Elliott said. "If we’re going to be out of snow in 50 years, then we certainly would be wise to be thinking about diversification of our economy."

Still, market conditions are not right for more industrial development, Richer said.

"There is economic reality here. There is not enough incentive to take a manufacturing plant and place it in Silver Creek if it’s contrary to the highest and best use for that piece of property economically," Richer said.

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