Park City leaders will study the ‘Bozeman brand’ on outing

The Park City travelers on the City Tour later in September are expected to spend time studying downtown Bozeman, Montana, as they learn about economic development programs. The City Tour, running from Wednesday until Sunday, is also scheduled to visit Livingston, Montana, and Jackson, Wyoming.
Courtesy of the City of Bozeman

A group of Parkites next week will see the big sky of Montana and, possibly, a Wyoming cowboy.

The annual City Tour to other destinations in the West is scheduled to leave Park City on Wednesday for a five-day trek to Montana and Wyoming. The travelers — elected officials, government staffers, business leaders, not-for-profit executives and members of the Leadership Park City training program — are preparing to depart for the Montana cities of Bozeman and Livingston as well as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one of Park City’s tourism competitors.

The City Tour, held each year since the 1980s, is designed to provide insights about the mechanics of other communities in the region, some of them resorts and others significantly larger than Park City. The travelers meet with their counterparts in the other communities, spending the days participating in discussions with leaders and taking tours. Sometimes the travelers learn about programs, policies or facilities in the other communities that have promise in the Park City area.

“They’re dealing with a lot of the same issues we are,” said Myles Rademan, the director of the Leadership Park City program and the organizer of the City Tour.

Mayor Andy Beerman and the five members of the Park City Council are scheduled to attend. Four of the five Summit County Councilors are also listed on the roster. The group is also expected to include 17 staffers from City Hall or the County Courthouse. Others listed include representatives from the Park City School District and the Park City Chamber/Bureau.

The trip costs are estimated at $900 per person. Government staffers and elected officials typically travel at the expense of taxpayers. The other travelers pay their own way or have the businesses or organizations they represent fund the trip.

The itinerary includes meetings at the municipal building in Bozeman on Thursday followed by tours focused on issues like economic development and downtown. More meetings are planned in Bozeman on Friday, including a discussion with the chamber of commerce, before the tour moves to Livingston for presentations by government officials and a community panel that is scheduled to include a high school principal and others. The Saturday itinerary includes tours of Jackson, Wyoming, and meetings with officials there.

Rademan said Bozeman has grown into a community that is not exclusively dependent on Montana State University as a driver. There has been “explosive growth” in Bozeman, he said, describing the area as having encountered issues with traffic and housing. He compared Bozeman’s challenges to those in other places with large universities like Boulder and Fort Collins in Colorado.

The Livingston segment of the trip will touch on the community’s arts scene, social equity programs and, perhaps, the fly-fishing industry, Rademan said. He said Livingston has a “very distinct Western feel.”

In Jackson, meanwhile, the tour-goers will learn about the downtown, housing shortages that have forced much of the workforce to outlying communities and public lands issues involving nearby Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Business is “booming” in Jackson, he said. Rademan said the group will also visit a commercial greenhouse that grows produce on a year-round basis in what he calls a “hostile environment” for growing.

Brit Fontenot, the economic development director in Bozeman, is one of the officials scheduled to address the Park City group. He also plans to lead a tour of the downtown, saying he will tell the travelers of the “Bozeman brand.”

“It’s an ethos. The Bozeman brand means adventure,” Fontenot said, adding that the brand also stands for quality.

He said corporate interests that advance the community’s brand, such as those involved with fishing products, shoes, skis, backpacks and hunting gear, have a major presence in Bozeman.

“We have an ecosystem of outdoor enthusiasts,” Fontenot said.

He also touted Bozeman’s downtown as vibrant with art galleries and technology companies alongside each other as plans are underway for parking upgrades.

“We love our downtown and so does everyone else,” he said.

Tours mapped out

The annual City Tour returns to Bozeman for the first time since 2010, Livingston for the first time since 2002 and Jackson for the first time since 2005. Some of the other destinations over the years include:

• the Colorado cities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt and Carbondale as well as Vernal

• Vail and Steamboat Springs in Colorado

• Ketchum and Sun Valley in Idaho and Ogden

• Las Vegas and Brian Head

• Crested Butte, Colorado

• Moab and Telluride, Colorado

• Flagstaff and Sedona, Arizona

• Reno, Nevada, and the Lake Tahoe region


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