Park City: a desirable place or a ‘slave to developers?’ |

Park City: a desirable place or a ‘slave to developers?’


Is Park City a "desirable mountain ski town poised to be the leading ski town in the US?"

Or is it "crowded, expensive, californicated, slave to developers?"

The two comments illustrate the extraordinary range of opinions gathered by City Hall in the spring as Park City leaders sought input on a vision for the community that dates to 2009.

The community vision was crafted in the depths of the recession, at a time when it was not clear how well Park City would weather the downturn. Park City since then has enjoyed a strong rebound from the downturn led by critical industries like tourism and construction.

City Hall staffers in early June distributed a report to Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council outlining the input received in an online survey centered on the vision. The unscientific survey was posted on the City Hall website in March and early April. There were 215 responses, of which 157 were submitted by people who live inside Park City.

The survey form provided an opportunity for written comments. The anonymous comments, which were included in the report to the elected officials, show Parkites are pleased with where they live but worried about the future.

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Many of the people who left comments offered opinions about what they see as the greatness of Park City. It is a wonderful place to live, some said, while others noted the recreational opportunities Park City offers. Critics, though, were displeased, alluding to the high cost of housing in Park City, traffic and development.

They are a telling collection of opinions as Park City begins a new discussion about the broad topic of growth and prepares for an election with three of the five City Council seats on the ballot. There have been comments from some of the elected officials in recent months that people have expressed to them underlying concerns about growth, spurring the new set of talks.

One question on the survey asked people to describe Park City of today in 10 words or fewer. Someone answered by writing "magical, special, unique, outdoorsy, vibrant, historical beautiful gem." Another person’s answer was "beautiful historical ski town destroyed by greed and uncontrolled development." Someone described Park City as "the most wonderful large ‘small town’" while another answer was "a disney ride called Yesterland."

Another question, also answered in 10 words or fewer, sought predictions about Park City in five to 10 years. The answers again covered a wide range of topics. Someone said Park City will be "a vacation destination with a thriving local community base" while another answer was "crowded , unaffordable except for the rich, idiots on the city council. Like now."

The survey also asked for general opinions about Park City’s vision. "I think that park city needs to stay small," one person said, as someone else said "that happiness we all feel in summer, these years, fades in winter."

A sampling of other comments compiled in the report to the elected officials includes:

  • "small town full of big city people with lots of amazing outdoor activities and an ever increasing cultural diversity"
  • "It will look like New York City with central park = round valley"
  • "A vibrant resort community comprised of dynamic people"
  • "millionaire playground"
  • "A friendly mountain ski town that is easy to visit."
  • "overcrowded with failed road system"
  • "Intelligently managed. Maintaining core principals. Authentic: People, Ambiance."
  • "Overpopulated, lost small town charm, traffic congestion, polluted air, sad."
  • "Wow – I wish you the best – keep up the great work of the leaders from the past."
  • "Park City no longer cares about the workers and small business owners who sustain the community. Park City’s vision is all about supporting the wealthy and money."