Park City basketball coach takes shot at City Council election |

Park City basketball coach takes shot at City Council election

Thomas Purcell, worried about pollution, wants City Hall to clean up municipal land

Thomas Purcell, the head coach of the boys basketball team at Park City High School, is mounting a campaign for the Park City Council. He plans to stress issues like environmental cleanup, as well as traffic and transportation.
Courtesy of Thomas Purcell

Thomas Purcell, the head coach of the boys basketball team at Park City High School, has started a campaign for the Park City Council, taking a shot at elected office with a broad platform that includes environmental cleanup and addressing the related issues of traffic and transportation.

Purcell is 37 and lives in Thaynes Canyon. He has lived in Park City for 12 years and the upcoming basketball season will be his third leading the Miners. He also works in the private equity and real estate investment fields.

“I want to be in the room when certain decisions are made,” he said.

Purcell argued the community takes an “extremely short-term view” on issues. As an example, he said, Park City has protected lots of land as open space, but City Hall has not performed what he considers to be necessary environmental remediation elsewhere.

“Clean up the land we’re on, before we start worrying about future land,” he said, focusing the comment on the environmental legacy of Park City’s historic silver-mining industry.

Purcell wants City Hall to take responsibility for cleanups and pursue them aggressively.

“Why not clean up those mines? Why not take care of that issue,” he said, adding, “It’s a root cause of pollution where we live. It’s something we deal with on a daily basis.”

Purcell, meanwhile, argued City Hall does not have a long-term vision regarding traffic and transportation. He said Park City has implemented “Band-Aids” as it has addressed the issues.

“We are going to have massive traffic problems,” he said, describing traffic in Park City as sometimes reminding him of his native Chicago.

Purcell proposes to have the Park City Police Department assigned to direct traffic each day. He said the police “could and should be used” to “clear completely” the traffic. He said the traffic hinders the tourism industry.

Purcell said he opposes one of Park City’s recent traffic-fighting efforts — the pilot program involving a bicycle lane on a stretch of Park Avenue. He said the lane increases the danger of a head-on collision between drivers.

He said he is worried about the amount of debt City Hall has incurred. Purcell also said the municipal government should have a role in local schools. He noted the wealth of the community but that other schools have more and nicer facilities. Schools issues, though, are under the management of the Park City School District, a separated entity from the municipal government, rather than City Hall. Purcell said City Hall should be involved in some way in the schools, perhaps via pressing for improvements of school buildings.

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