City Hall plaza will be named after late Deer Valley executive

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD
A plaza on Swede Alley will be named in honor of the late Bob Wells, a former member of the Park City Council who was a key executive at Deer Valley Resort. Courtesy of Park City Municipal Corp.

The slopes of Deer Valley Resort are in the distance when someone is at the City Hall plaza on Swede Alley.

And the Marsac Building, nowadays emblematic of the municipal government, stands directly above the plaza.

The late Bob Wells was a critical figure at Deer Valley and, earlier, in the municipal government. He was best known as a longtime Deer Valley executive, but he also served two terms on the Park City Council in an era before the city’s 1990s boom years.

Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council earlier in August authorized the naming of the plaza after Wells. The City Council approved the authorization on a 5-0 vote. There was applause in the City Council chambers as the vote was cast. A City Hall staff report submitted to the elected officials beforehand referred to the public space as Bob Wells Plaza.

Wells died in March at 72 years old. He had been in treatment for cancer for two years prior to his death. Wells had lived in Park City since 1971 and had broad influence on issues ranging from resort development to work force housing.

He served on the City Council from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s and was a member of the Park City Planning Commission prior to winning elected office. It was a time when Park City was struggling to succeed as a mountain resort in the years after the silver mining industry faltered.

Wells also had an early role at Deer Valley, starting work prior to its 1981 opening. Over the years, Wells had an especially important position in development issues involving the resort. He was the vice president of Deer Valley at the time of his death. Wells was also a leader in Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to work force housing and other housing issues.

The plaza recently debuted at the base of the Marsac Building steps. It runs from the steps to the Swede Alley roadway. The plaza project included extending a section of sidewalk on the east side of Swede Alley, landscaping, decorative pavers, benches and decorative concrete towers that stand approximately 12 feet tall.

It is designed to hold approximately 300 people for special events. Officials also see the plaza as a better link between the Marsac Building steps and Swede Alley.

There had been talk for years about creating a plaza or some other sort of gathering place at the location. The one that was built is scaled back from some of the earlier ideas.

Wells’ widow, Patti Wells, was in attendance at the City Council meeting. She told the elected officials of a route Wells often took along Main Street, turning at the post office that is situated steps from the plaza. She thanked the mayor and City Council and said the naming is meaningful.

In an interview, she said Wells was often in the location where the plaza was built. It is close to the Deer Valley Plaza building where he worked and he would pass by as he got his mail.

"The post office and City Hall . . . was his area," she said.

She said the design of the plaza is simple and functional rather than grand. That "reflects his personality," she said.

Scott Loomis, the executive director of Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, and Deer Valley President and General Manager Bob Wheaton also spoke kindly about Wells during the City Council meeting.

The elected officials are expected to adopt a resolution later honoring Wells and naming the plaza after him. A ceremony will be planned to recognize the naming and a plaque or a similar remembrance will be put at the plaza.

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