Park City official from 1980s, who readied City Hall for 1990s growth, dies
Arlene Loble arrived in Park City in 1980, a time when it was clear the ski industry would drive the economy after the decades of economic doldrums in the post-silver mining era.
Loble moved to the community to accept the city manager post, putting her in a key office that was to shape Park City as it attempted to become a world-renowned mountain resort. Loble, who died recently, served as the city manager from 1980 until 1989, a pivotal stretch that prepared Park City for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s.
She later became the city manager of Wilsonville, Oregon, and served there from 1991 until she retired in 2010. Loble left Park City prior to the arrival of many Parkites, but figures from her tenure as the city manager praised her as being a strong leader at a time of great transition. They credited her with essentially introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed as the growth challenges were beginning in earnest.
“She had the professional skill and the foresight,” said Myles Rademan, who was City Hall’s longtime public affairs director after Loble hired him in 1986 as the planning director. “She saw the future.”
Rademan recalled delivering a speech at a conference for planners in San Francisco prior to his move to Park City from Crested Butte, Colorado. Loble was in the audience, he said, describing that she later contacted him with the opportunity to become the planning director in Park City. The mid-1980s was a time of economic challenge in Park City and Loble was “very progressive,” he said.
“Just make something happen here. … That was her direction to me,” said Rademan, who started with the municipal government in early 1987.
He credited Loble for her role in the creation of a City Hall-controlled redevelopment agency that has been crucial to the growth of the Main Street core. He said she supported the renewal efforts on Main Street as well as the beautification of the street with flower baskets and banners. He said she was a “big cheerleader” for Main Street. Rademan said Loble held an important role in the discussions that led to City Hall selling the land on upper Main Street where the Wasatch Brew Pub was developed, a deal that is still seen as significant to the rise of Main Street in the 1990s.
“She really did put this town on the road (to) success we’re enjoying now,” he said.
Another former City Hall staffer who worked under Loble, Jan Scott, recalls her as a “real sharp negotiator.” Scott, hired in 1981, was a clerk, the typist and an administrative assistant before she became the city recorder.
“She just had the ability of getting the best out of people, your best potential,” Scott said, adding staffers grew professionally and personally with Loble as the city manager. “You thought you couldn’t do it.”
Scott said Loble and the elected officials of that era were aware Park City was poised to grow. She said her moves as the city manager were in preparation for the success of Park City as a mountain resort.
“The emergence of Park City Mountain Resort and the plans for Deer Valley mountain resort. I think she anticipated the growth,” she said.
Jerry Gibbs, hired by Loble as the public works director in 1983, remembered she took him into Old Town during the interview for the post. She showed him flooding on Daly Avenue as she described the community’s challenges.
“I consider her my mentor. She’s the one that taught me, or showed me, how to do a win-win,” Gibbs said. “She showed me you could have a win-win scenario.”
He said the municipal government’s shift while Loble was the city manager was critical to Park City successes during her tenure as well as into the 1990s.
“We wanted to do more than try to survive to the next ski season. We wanted to be more,” he said. “By her professionalism and leadership, what she was able to do is identify the goals.”
A gathering of friends in honor of Loble is scheduled at Café Terigo on Friday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
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How on earth will the Park City Council candidates address the traffic situation? What will they pledge to accomplish regarding housing? And how well do they understand the impact of the consolidation and corporatization of the ski industry? The fall campaign could answer those questions.