Younger voters ready to question Park City mayoral field | ParkRecord.com

Younger voters ready to question Park City mayoral field

Forum on Monday will be the first of the campaign season

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

The Park City mayoral candidates are scheduled to gather for a forum on Monday, the first event of the campaign season that will feature all three of the contenders and an opportunity for them to address issues of interest to younger voters.

A group called the Park City Action Network, which formed in the spring and wants to advance causes important to people in their 20s and 30s, organized the forum a little more than a month before voters in an Aug. 15 primary will advance two of the three mayoral candidates to Election Day in November. Summit County Councilor Roger Armstrong, Park City Councilor Andy Beerman and Dana Williams, a former Park City mayor, are competing in the primary.

The Park City Action Network draws between 20 and 30 people to monthly meetings focused on a variety of issues, said Heleena Sideris, one of the founding members. There is a core group of 10, she said.

The forum on Monday will provide the candidates a few minutes each to deliver a stump speech followed by questions from the Park City Action Network. There will also be opportunities for one-on-one discussions with the candidates.

Sideris, who is an Old Town resident and works in the lodging industry, said the organization's questions will center on issues like housing, transportation and the environment. The Park City Action Network also wants to learn about the backgrounds of the candidates. The broad issues of housing, transportation and the environment are expected to be important themes throughout the election season as Park City continues to grapple with growth. The Park City Action Network does not plan to endorse one of the candidates, though.

"A lot of this is out of necessity and fear," Sideris said about the issues the organization plans to stress, explaining that people in their 20s and 30s wonder whether there will be a place for them in Park City's future.

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Park City is seen as a graying community as retirees settle in the area from outside of Utah, moving in among many of the people who arrived in the city in the 1970s and 1980s who are now reaching their 60s and 70s. The retirees, coupled with vacation-home buyers, have played a role in the dramatic increases in housing prices in Park City over time. The increases have left fewer housing options for members of the rank-and-file work force in their 20s and 30s.

City Hall is pursuing a housing program with projects in places like the lower Park Avenue corridor. There are expected to be difficulties for many in their 20s and 30s even afterward, though. Sideris said the crowd at the forum will want the candidates to outline "how aggressive they're willing to be" regarding housing.

The event is open to the public but designed for people in their 20s and 30s. It is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at Café Terigo on Main Street. For more information, contact Sideris at helsideris@gmail.com.

The forum is scheduled roughly two weeks before the primary voting begins. The primary will involve mail-in balloting. The ballots and return envelopes are scheduled to be mailed to registered voters in Park City on July 25. The ballots must be returned to the County Courthouse postmarked on or before Aug. 14. They can also be left in a drop box at the Marsac Building with a deadline of 8 p.m. on Aug. 15.