Events manager ends City Hall career
Alison Butz normally was not recognized on Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival and each August she did not stand out with the painters and pottery makers of the art festival.
But Butz, more than anyone else, was ensuring that Park City’s special events, the famous ones and the ones for Parkites, were unfolding smoothly.
Butz, who manages special events for City Hall and the government’s properties, plans to step down from her position at the end of April. She will continue working for the government for another year on a contract basis on items like an environmental initiative and the remodel of the Marsac Building, however.
"There’s not one day you can’t look at the calendar and add one thing to do that day," Butz said about the number of events that occur each year in the city, noting the diversity from a wine and food festival to the Sundance Film Festival.
Butz arrived at City Hall as a planner in 1996, remaining in that position for a little less than five years. She was assigned to a diverse list of projects like revising the city’s sign code, a law governing cell-phone towers, a rule regulating newspaper stands on Main Street and the remodel of the Holiday Village shopping center.
She took the events and properties position in May 2001, just as the government was negotiating lots of Winter Olympic-related deals. In that post, she also was assigned to environmental initiatives and the city’s wind-power program.
She said Park City’s event calendar, once dominated by the winter, is more balanced now with summertime arts-influenced and sporting events becoming more widespread.
Her favorite event was the annual America’s Opening World Cup races at Park City Mountain Resort, which the resort relinquished, and said she also likes the Park City Art Festival. She said lots of Parkites visit Main Street for the art festival.
"I love looking through the crowd and recognizing people you know," Butz said.
Sometimes events disturb neighbors but Butz said City Hall is managing the events better to avoid the annoyances. For instance, she said, moving the popular summertime Wednesday night concerts to Deer Valley is a better arrangement than holding them at City Park, where they were staged for years.
"I think it was better. I know that the neighbors were getting overrun every (Wednesday) with cars, people walking through their yards," she said.
Meanwhile, on the properties side of her job, she is happy that the government plans to sell the key buildings on the landmark Watts property to a person who plans to operate a whiskey distillery.
Butz, who is 31 years old, lives in Prospector and plans to remain in Park City. She said she has not decided what her next career move will be, but said she would like to someday be an executive running a company.
She grew up in Chicago and went to college in Iowa before moving to Park City.
Butz is pleased that she switched from the Planning Department to managing the events, comparing the development code-dependent work of a planner to the events position.
"With special events, it felt like I could enable and be more of a catalyst for things," she said.
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Gretchen Milliken started as the Park City planning director at the beginning of February. Like many others in the community, she sees the amount of traffic as a challenge.