Park City survey shows worries about housing affordability, low wages
Parkites see the closely linked topics of housing affordability and low wages as the most important issues under the umbrella of social equity, a survey has found, results that are likely not surprising to many but illustrate the struggles of numerous people in the community nonetheless.
The Park City Community Foundation, tapped by City Hall to assist with the social equity discussions, presented the preliminary results to Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council at a meeting on Thursday. The survey was not scientific and the results are based on 706 responses. The question focused on social equity issues is an especially important one since the elected officials in 2018 elevated the topic to a critical priority for the municipal government, a move that triggered City Hall to shift resources to the issue.
According to the survey, approximately 29 percent of the respondents selected affordable housing as the most important social equity issue in Park City and surrounding Summit County. Another 15.1 percent selected low wages as the most important. The two issues are seen as related since the affordability of housing is in many ways directly tied to wages.
Housing has challenged different rosters of Park City elected officials for more than 20 years as mayors and sets of City Councilors have pursued workforce or otherwise restricted projects. The broad concerns about housing availability persist even amid the municipal successes. Park City’s resort-driven real estate market, the most expensive in the state, has priced many rank-and-file workers out of the community. The housing difficulties lead to other issues like increased commuter traffic and reduced socioeconomic diversity, officials have long said.
The mayor and City Council on Thursday did not spend extensive time on the responses to the question about the important issues under the social equity umbrella, but they are expected to address many of the topics in coming months as part of the overall discussions.
Ollie Wilder, the community impact director of the Park City Community Foundation, said in an interview a foundation committee will review the results and assess potential steps that could be taken to address the topics. He said the survey attempts to gather information about Parkites’ experience in the community.
The other issues identified as important under the umbrella of social equity included:
• affordable and safe child care, at 9.6 percent
• lack of feeling included, at 8.4 percent
• access to health care, at 7.2 percent
• racism, at 6.4 percent
• senior services, at 4.2 percent
• other, at 3.6 percent
• access to sports and recreation, at 3.3 percent
• early childhood education, 3 percent
• religious discrimination, 2.9 percent
• homophobia/transphobia/biphobia, 2.3 percent
• ability discrimination, 2.2 percent
• ageism, 1.8 percent
• gender discrimination, 1.1 percent
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The Project for Deeper Understanding on Tuesday seeks to start a dialogue among local leaders.