Park City’s annual trip to share ideas with other municipalities slated for this month
City Tour participants traveling to Boise, Hailey and Ketchum-Sun Valley in Idaho
The Park Record
After a two-year hiatus because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the City Tour is back on.
Participants in Park City’s annual trip are slated to leave Wednesday on a tour of Boise, Hailey and the Ketchum-Sun Valley area and return from Idaho on Sunday. They will spend their time observing how the municipalities operate and discussing best practices.
“The whole idea is for us to go to other places that have similar issues and to see how they’re handling the issues and what we can learn from them,” said Myles Rademan, the founder and director of Leadership Park City, a program that trains new community leaders. “Other places are grappling with things like affordable housing, traffic, sustainability, economic development and tourism. It’s good to go and see what other people are doing and be humble enough to learn from them.”
In addition, the Park City group members share their experiences with their counterparts, he said.
“They want to know what we’ve been doing,” Rademan said. “A lot of people are very interested in how we host the Sundance Film Festival, how we did the Olympics in 2002, how we’re planning to do the Olympics again, those kinds of things.”
The fact-finding tour originally was set up for government officials and staff members, then expanded to include others.
This year, 60 people are going – city and county officials, businesspeople, community residents and 32 Leadership Park City program members from this year’s class, as well as from the two previous classes whose tours were canceled because of the spread of COVID. The group will be traveling by bus.
The schedule is full with presentations, panel discussions and visits to downtowns and housing projects. Topics on the agenda include demographics, elections, decision-making, changes caused by the pandemic, housing, worker shortages and climate change.
Rademan, who runs the City Tours, said the growth of the Idaho cities was a factor in their selection as this year’s destinations.
“Boise is the fastest growing city in the Mountain West,” he said. “They’re confronting a lot of the same problems as we are. And so is Ketchum-Sun Valley, which is more similar to Park City. They’re all facing massive growth, massive affordable housing issues, massive traffic and transportation and parking issues. They’re all talking sustainability. They’re all suffering from the drought. We’re all facing similar problems.”
Over the years, the City Tour has visited many communities in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Washington, California, Arizona and New Mexico.
“Each time, you see something that surprises you,” Rademan said. “You say, ‘Look what they’re doing here. We could be doing that.’ Over the years, we’ve brought back great ideas.”
He gave as an example the Rail Trail, a popular route in Summit County created from an abandoned railroad line.
The City Tour trip originally was called Summer Tour and held in August. However, after lodging prices went up because the resort areas became popular destinations in the summer, the tour was moved to September. In 2021, the tour was scheduled for November, when hotel prices were lower than earlier in the fall, before it was canceled due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Group expenses – the bus rental and some of the meals – are $400 for each traveler and the rest of the costs, about $400 to $600, are covered by organizations or the participants themselves. Government officials often travel at taxpayer expense.
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Park City Council members have directed staffers to continue working on a plan to develop affordable housing on a site 1 ½ miles south of City Hall on Marsac Avenue. Staffers are recommending the city release a request for proposals (RFP) to find interested entities to participate in a public-private partnership to build the project.