Late Deer Valley executive honored with tributes as plaza dedicated
Park City officials dedicated a plaza on Swede Alley in honor of the late Deer Valley Resort executive Bob Wells on Thursday, drawing a large crowd of his contemporaries, former City Hall leaders, Deer Valley representatives and others whose lives were influenced by a figure who had a significant role in shaping the Park City of today.
Bob Wells Plaza is situated at the base of the Marsac Building steps, stretching from the steps to the Swede Alley roadway. It was designed to better link the municipal building with Main Street as well as a spot for special events. The space debuted in the summer. The Park City Council in August authorized the naming after Wells.
A sign emblazoned with the name of the plaza and a plaque in honor of Wells were unveiled. The Wells family was in attendance.
"It truly captures Bob’s personality," his widow, Patti Wells, said to the crowd.
She said he would be honored the plaza was named after him. Wells, who served on the City Council from the late 1970s until the mid-1980s, made frequent trips between the Marsac Building and the Main Street post office, traversing the space that is now the plaza, she said.
Wells died in March at 72 years old. He had been in treatment for cancer for two years prior to his death. He had lived in Park City since 1971, building an extraordinary career in the ski industry, government service and the not-for-profit sector.
He was best known as a longtime Deer Valley executive and was especially important to the resort’s development efforts. Wells was a member of the Park City Planning Commission prior his City Council election. He was also a leader in Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, a not-for-profit that assists people priced out of Park City’s resort-driven real estate market.
The project included extending a section of sidewalk on the east side of Swede Alley, landscaping, decorative pavers, benches and decorative concrete towers standing approximately 12 feet high. It is designed to hold upward of 300 people.
Speakers on Thursday described the broad contributions Wells made as Park City became an elite mountain resort. Mayor Jack Thomas spoke about Wells and the evolution of Park City.
"The man was just phenomenal," Thomas said, describing him as a "humble, quiet man."
Jane Patten, the executive director of the Peace House, a not-for-profit domestic violence shelter, credited Wells with the formation of the organization. She said the Peace House would not exist without the work of Wells.
Another speaker, former Mayor Brad Olch, noted the efforts to build Deer Valley Drive, recalling how Wells approached the various property owners needed to agree to the project. People listened when Wells spoke, Olch said.
Bob Wheaton, the president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort, said Wells has "foresight for the town." He mentioned the role Wells played in the development of Deer Valley Drive, now a critical route to and from Deer Valley.
"Bob’s fingerprints are truly all over town," Wheaton said.
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A member of the Park City Planning Commission for at least the second time in less than a year spoke publicly about a concept that would financially involve City Hall in a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort. Planning Commissioner John Phillips did not address the concept in any depth during a lengthy meeting.