Summit County official has ‘zero aspiration’ for Park City mayor’s office after soils criticism
Roger Armstrong says he will remain on the sidelines of contest
Roger Armstrong in a matter of weeks became one of the most prominent figures in the highly charged debate in Park City about the municipal government’s concept to build a facility to store soils contaminated during the silver-mining era.
Armstrong has provided some of the most pointed criticism of the concept, including a tense appearance during a June informational event hosted by City Hall. His efforts have appeared to be winning support from Parkites in opposition to the facility, known as a repository. The facility has become one of the top issues in Park City in the opening weeks of a City Hall campaign with the mayor’s office and two spots on the Park City Council on the ballot.
Armstrong, a member of the Summit County Council who lives in Aspen Springs, said on Monday he will not mount a write-in campaign for the mayor’s office four years after he unsuccessfully sought the top elected post at the Marsac Building. Armstrong had recently indicated his efforts in opposition to the repository were not in anticipation of a second mayoral bid and he reiterated that point in an interview.
“Absolutely none,” Armstrong said about his intentions regarding the Park City campaign, adding, “Zero aspiration in Park City politics.”
He said nobody has approached him about mounting what would be a write-in campaign at this point for the mayor’s office or a seat on the City Council.
There are three people competing for the mayor’s office, forcing a primary election to reduce the field to two for Election Day in November. The incumbent, Mayor Andy Beerman, is seeking a second term. The challengers are City Councilor Nann Worel and political newcomer David Dobkin.
Armstrong is serving his third term on the County Council and said he will retire from politics at the end of the term. He said the concern about the repository is not based on the election that is unfolding alongside the dispute about contaminated soils.
“This is not about politics,” he said.
Armstrong in 2017 mounted an unsuccessful bid for the mayor’s office. He was part of an especially strong field of three on the primary ballot. Voters dropped Armstrong, opting to advance Beerman, who was a member of the City Council at the time, and former three-term Mayor Dana Williams out of the primary. Beerman later won the office. Armstrong and Williams have each criticized the concept for the repository.
Park City leaders are continuing to discuss the concept of a repository, which would be built on municipal land at the S.R. 248-Richardson Flat Road intersection. Materials containing lead and arsenic would be stored there. The contaminants date to Park City’s silver-mining industry, which drove the economy from the late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century but left an environmental legacy that has troubled Parkites for decades.
There are broad concerns about the concept, including those centered on public health and the environment. Armstrong during the June event probed City Hall’s desire to store the materials locally rather than transporting them to a Tooele County facility.
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A member of the Park City Planning Commission for at least the second time in less than a year spoke publicly about a concept that would financially involve City Hall in a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort. Planning Commissioner John Phillips did not address the concept in any depth during a lengthy meeting.