Park City issues like growth, climate change, affordability expected to reignite after coronavirus
As Park City entered the spring, the community was focused on well-established issues like growth, traffic and parking.
City Hall had led Parkites through a wide-ranging exercise designed to craft a vision for the community. Just months later, though, the spread of the novel coronavirus upended Park City as businesses were forced to temporarily close, layoffs mounted and people largely stayed home in an attempt to curb the spread.
The visioning exercise was designed to map a future for Park City over the next decade or so. As Park City continues to struggle with the impact of the illness, leaders see the results of the visioning efforts as retaining value even if leaders and rank-and-file Parkites may desire to review some of the findings in the context of the recovery from the coronavirus.
In one of the intriguing products of the visioning was a list of what were considered to be key drivers in Park City. A think-tank workshop in July drafted the list of key drivers, largely identifying topics that have been crucial to the community for years. Major developments, climate change, the loss of socioeconomic diversity and the loss of affordability were some of the drivers identified at the workshop.
Mayor Andy Beerman in an interview said the key drivers identified in July “likely remain intact” today. He said City Hall’s critical priorities, such as transportation, housing, energy and social equity, retain their status regardless of the spread of the illness.
“If you look at many of the key drivers, they will still be there when we come out of this current crisis,” Beerman said.
He said, though, the strategies and timelines for addressing the issues could be altered based on the possibility of reprioritizing resources, including spending, toward the impacts of the novel coronavirus.
Beerman also explained issues that predated the recession of more than a decade ago seemed to subside during the downturn only to reappear afterward. He pointed to topics like traffic, the competitiveness of Main Street, housing and the impacts of special events on the community as some of those that “acutely returned” to the forefront after the recession. That sort of scenario could be repeated in the case of the coronavirus-caused downturn, he said.
“The core challenges will return as soon as business returns,” Beerman said.
The mayor said he wants to hold what he described as a “giant digital town hall” in May or June to discuss the visioning efforts and whether alterations should be made to reflect the impact of the novel coronavirus.
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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.