Park City mayor sworn into office urging community kindness
Andy Beerman on Wednesday evening became the mayor of Park City, taking the oath of office in front of a crowd of supporters ranging from former elected officials to rank-and-file Parkites and, in a de facto inauguration speech, outlining an upbeat vision for a city where everyone can succeed.
Beerman won the mayor’s office on Election Day in November in his second campaign for Park City’s top political office, relying largely on the city’s establishment to put him into office after an unsuccessful bid in 2013. He had been a member of the Park City Council.
Members of Beerman’s family joined Parkites who crowded into a room at the Park City Library for his swearing-in ceremony. Judge Shauna Kerr, once a member of the City Council, administered the oaths of office for Beerman and two members of the City Council, Tim Henney and Steve Joyce. Henney was sworn into office for a second term while Joyce is a freshman City Councilor.
Beerman’s remarks largely resembled his stump speeches during the election season. He noted a series of successes in 2017 and cautioned that much work needs to be done on issues like the future of Bonanza Flat, a planned arts and culture district, housing, transportation, energy and the Treasure development proposal. He described himself as an optimist and said he is excited to set a tone as the mayor.
“I believe in this community, and I think we have a tremendous number of tools in this community. And we can accomplish about anything we want here,” Beerman said.
He said the City Council, which will have two new members once a successor is named to hold the seat Beerman vacated to ascend to the mayor’s office, should continue to pursue a bold agenda.
“I hope our next Council, going forward, will show that same courage. I think this is a community that wants us to take action, wants us to shape our future going forward. Be proactive, not just react to what’s happening to us, but build a community we want. So, I think there’s reason for great optimism,” Beerman said.
Beerman, meanwhile, also addressed the makeup of the community, something that is expected to take on greater importance in coming months as leaders continue to press the overarching ideal of social equity. The talks will likely touch on a range of municipal policies and programs with the aim of ensuring certain segments of the community are not left behind amid a strong local economy. The mayor did not use his remarks on Wednesday to announce new programs, though.
“We find our strength in diversity. Every community is stronger when they’re diverse. And because of our success as a town we have some great discrepancies between the haves and have-nots in town. And we need to figure out as a community how we can be more inclusive. And we need to find our kindness, and we need to find our patience. There is no reason why we should be grumpy in this town,” Beerman said.
He talked about the ideal of gratitude and said Parkites find opportunities to complain even in a community that draws vacationers.
“We just need to wake up and realize that we’re in Park City. We’re surrounded by wonderful people, an amazing natural environment, and we have great resources. We can build whatever community we want,” Beerman said.
Beerman took office at a time when City Hall is expected to pursue an aggressive agenda with an emphasis on topics like social equity, housing and transportation. Housing and transportation issues have long challenged the community even after a series of notable successes over the years like the expansion of bus routes and City Hall housing developments. The discussions about social equity have only stretched over several months, leaving it unclear what sort of results will be seen as a success. Other issues pending at City Hall include the Treasure development proposal and the continued monitoring of a controversial recent revamp of the paid-parking system in the Main Street core.
Henney and Joyce offered brief comments as they took their oaths of office. Henney said the “soulfulness” of Park City will be important to him in his second term, indicating the city has defined itself as a world-class resort but work is needed on the community itself. Joyce noted dichotomies in Park City, such as making progress on affordable housing alongside ensuring the city is a top-tier community that then drives up real estate prices.
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A majority of the people in the Park City Future Summit crowd recently indicated they were willing to pay more in property taxes to support City Hall’s housing efforts.