Park City’s late planning director, ‘our captain,’ honored
Bruce Erickson’s knowledge of community, stoic nature noted
Mayor Andy Beerman and members of the Park City Planning Commission on Wednesday honored the late Park City planning director, Bruce Erickson, during the first meeting of the panel since his death just days before, recounting the extraordinary, decades-long influence he had on the community.
Erickson, who had a professional background in designing mountain resorts, had been the planning director since 2015 and previously served as a member of the Planning Commission for 16 consecutive years ending in 2005, including three terms as the chairman. He was seen as perhaps possessing broader knowledge of planning and zoning matters in Park City than any other individual. He intended to retire in the summer. He was 67 and there had been recent indications he was in failing health.
The mayor, making a rare appearance at a Planning Commission meeting, noted Erickson also was involved with Recycle Utah and the organization that maintains the grounds of the Glenwood Cemetery. Beerman said Erickson did not want information about his health to be publicized as he spoke of the disappointment of many who “weren’t able to say goodbye.”
“And I will say that when Bruce’s health started to decline he was very adamant with a small group of people that knew and asked us to respect his privacy. Anybody that knows him well knows that that is his nature. … He was very stoic on certain things and this was something that he asked not to be made public,” he said.
The mayor added: “I think he knows that we all supported him and cared for him and that was something he knew and understood and didn’t need that to be reaffirmed.”
Beerman said leaders want to honor Erickson at some sort of event but are unable to at this point with the novel coronavirus continuing to spread.
“We really want to celebrate Bruce’s life properly, so when we can gather again, we’re going to come up with an … appropriate way to celebrate,” he said.
As the planning director, Erickson was a fixture at meetings of the Planning Commission. He oversaw the department’s roster of planners and regularly presented information to the panel. The planning commissioners on Wednesday, meeting virtually as City Hall’s efforts to curb the spread of the sickness continue, expressed appreciation for his work.
“I know Bruce was a library of knowledge and he was always unloading that in all of his different hats that he wore. He had a lot of mentors underneath him, and I considered myself one of them,” said John Phillips, one of the planning commissioners, describing the death as “a big hit to all of us.”
John Kenworthy, another member of the Planning Commission, also honored Erickson.
“Rest in peace. You were our captain, and you served with great honor. Thank you, Bruce,” he said.
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A former mayor of Park City, Jack Thomas, recently testified at a Park City Planning Commission meeting regarding the concept for a major development at Snow Park, essentially praising the overarching vision but cautioning the review will likely be extensive.