Park City young people ‘feel like they’re being pushed out,’ official says
A Park City Councilor recently outlined that members of the workforce are worried about their future in the city, comments that were made as City Hall continues to pursue an agenda of social equity that is designed to provide opportunities for people of differing ages and income levels.
City Councilor Becca Gerber made the remarks as part of a broader discussion by the elected officials about social equity. Gerber appeared to direct her comments toward people who are in there 20s and 30s. She said “they definitely don’t feel welcome or valued in this town” even as there is not a concern about safety.
“It’s almost not a group but it kind of is in our town because it’s definitely a part of our community that feels marginalized, just the workforce in general,” Gerber said. “I mean you could say, you know, there’s like a group of young 20 to 30 somethings in this town that feel like they’re being pushed out and don’t have a place.”
Gerber said laborers should be respected in Park City. There was a suggestion from the City Council dais that the Park City laborers could be celebrated, perhaps with what was called a ‘Workforce Day.’ The officials did not discuss the idea in any depth.
Gerber also described what she sees as “kind of a lack of respect for work in this town.”
“Like hard labor, and there is a lot of hard labor that goes on in this town, be it summer landscaping, be it working at hotels or working in kitchens. And just that, that very physical, you know, labor that happens here that we cannot get by without,” she said. “Like that is what living in a resort town is kind of about is that we have all these great services, and you need somebody to provide the services.”
The other elected officials did not respond in detail to Gerber’s comments. The others, though, tend to back policies in support of the workforce, including housing and transportation programs. The struggles of the younger people described by Gerber could eventually be addressed at differing points of the talks about social equity, as the elected officials focus on individual topics.
The discussion about social equity is ongoing as Park City leaders continue to craft a vision meant to ensure the community is welcoming to people of various races, ages and income levels. The work spreads through the municipal ranks as various departments consider policies or programs. Gerber made the comments during a meeting when the elected officials, as an example, indicated they support the creation of a City Hall pilot program that is meant to offer municipal employment opportunities to those with developmental disabilities.
Gerber, who is in her 30s, oftentimes talks of the challenges of people of her age group as they attempt to carve out a place in Park City, where high housing costs make it difficult for younger people. She has likened some of the community’s challenges to those of the developing world, once saying in 2017 that a certain segment of the Park City population confronts Third World problems related to affordability.
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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.