Park City candidates, getting down to business, will appear at forum |

Park City candidates, getting down to business, will appear at forum

The six candidates in the Park City Council campaign are scheduled to participate in an election forum on Friday, the first time the group will appear together during a campaign season that has lacked the urgency of some previous City Hall contests.

Three business-related groups organized the event. It is likely the candidates will address topics regarding the Park City economy and other topics notable to the business community. The Park City Board of Realtors, the Historic Park City Alliance, which represents the interests of Main Street, and the Park City Chamber/Bureau are partnering on the event.

The forum is open to the public. It is scheduled from 11:45 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library and Education Center. Bob Richer, who served in elected office in Park City and Summit County, is scheduled to moderate the forum. The moderated portion of the forum is expected to last an hour followed by audience questions. Richer is a Snyderville Basin resident and cannot vote in the City Hall election. He has not endorsed a candidate.

Richer said the questioning will be "tilted toward" issues like housing affordability, real estate, the vitality of Main Street and Old Town topics. He said he continued to craft questions early in the week but said he anticipates "more of a discussion" on Friday rather than a question-and-answer session in which all six of the candidates would answer the same question.

Nancy Tallman, the president of the Board of Realtors, said the group is interested in topics like private-property rights, development and real estate matters. She said affordable housing could also be of interest at the forum.

"These are issues that have been in the papers for years and people are talking about," Tallman said.

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The Historic Park City Alliance wants to hear the candidates address Main Street issues like vacant retail space and construction projects that stagnate, Alison Butz, the executive director of the organization, said. She said parking and transportation issues are also important to Main Street businesspeople. Butz said there could also be interest in hearing the candidates discuss the difficulties businesses have in hiring employees.

Becca Gerber, one of the City Council candidates, is the president of the Historic Park City Alliance. Butz said Gerber did not have a role in planning the candidate event.

The Chamber/Bureau, meanwhile, hopes to hear the candidates talk about issues like transportation and work force housing, the organization’s CEO, Bill Malone, said. The two topics are priorities at City Hall, and the candidates will likely address the topics repeatedly as Election Day nears.

"How people get around town can have an impact on how people spend money and how people interact with the businesses," Malone said.

He also said work force housing is an important issue as housing availability has become more challenging in the hiring process.

This year’s political season has lacked the drama that marked some previous City Hall campaigns. A primary election was canceled after earlier candidates ended their bids for office. There were too few candidates left to force a primary to whittle the number to six.

The candidates since then have stumped with varying degrees of intensity. The six will apparently participate in at least two additional campaign events together, both in October. The Park City Rotary Club is scheduled to host them at one of the events. Details about the other one were not immediately available.

Election Day is Nov. 3. There are three City Council seats on the ballot. The candidates are Andy Beerman, who is an incumbent, Gerber, Nann Worel, Rory Murphy, Hope Melville and Dan Portwood. The winners will be sworn into office for four-year terms in early January.