Park City’s future: a train to ‘Harry Potter World’ or a ‘euro ski town model?’

The Sundance Film Festival recently ended its annual run in Park City. Some see events like Sundance as opportunities for the community that are not reliant on snow, as is the case with the ski industry.
Park Record file photo

As would be expected, some in Park City in the next five years want City Hall to continue the municipal work on housing. The program has won wide support as officials develop housing for people otherwise priced out of Park City’s resort-driven real estate market.

But as would be unexpected, at least one person in that timeframe wants officials to expand a paid-parking program that has drawn criticism. Expanded paid parking could convince people to use alternate forms of transportation rather than driving a personal vehicle, the person explained as part of City Hall’s ongoing efforts to create a community vision for the next decade.

With the discussions continuing among Park City leaders, a consultant tapped to guide the efforts and the community, a cache of comments collected from rank-and-file Parkites has been compiled. The comments provide a glimpse into the thinking of the people who have participated in the so-called visioning exercise.

The comments were compiled anonymously and posted as part of the overall exercise. They show that many of the people involved at some level in the talks continue to have concerns about major issues confronting City Hall and the wider community, including growth, traffic and affordability. Topics like those continue to perplex City Hall, the private sector and many Park City residents even after years of progress.

Wise use of money, not just spending because we have it,” Park City visioning participant

Some of the comments were left in response to a crucial question regarding the coming years in Park City. The question inquired about the strategies and projects someone sees as needed — whether newly created ones or existing ones that would be expanded — over a five-year period “in order to achieve the preferred future.”

The comments included calls for affordable housing, transportation systems and methods to boost the economy. Some of the comments seem to be reasonable possibilities for Park City’s future while others represent radical changes unlikely to ever be pursued.

At least two people mentioned the possibilities of modeling Park City after cities in Europe as transportation upgrades are considered. One person noted aerial systems, satellite parking lots and “More of a euro ski town model.” The other said “Look to European cities” as the person listed rail lines, transit routes and auto-free zones.

A sampling of the comments includes:

• “Car free Park City”

• “Tourists restrictions for parking”

• “Coordinate with major employers in Park City to participate in transportation hubs. Expand our hubs — employers have buses, there are coffee shops where commuters can wait for their employers bus. City should not be wholly on the financial hook for this.”

• “Wise use of money, not just spending because we have it.”

• “Economic/business diversification outside of tourism”

• “More active senior center, expand the days available. Activities. More senior housing near the heart of the city.”

• “More off snow/lack of snow reasons to be in town, like Sundance.”

• “We should make a train to the Harry Potter World.”

Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts was mentioned at least twice in the comments. One of the comments referring to the Colorado firm said: “Enact requirements for corporate and social responsibility to provide responsible production (ie Vail) to consumption.” The other one read: “Force Vail into public/private partnerships to solve transit issues.” The person also said municipal development rules should be changed, apparently to require resorts to address seasonal housing for the workforce.

The visioning efforts are the first for Park City since 2009. City Hall contracted a firm called Future iQ to lead the process.

The work is scheduled to continue on Tuesday at the second part of the Park City Future Summit. It is slated from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library. The event is billed as a “community conversation about a bold future vision for Park City.” City Hall encourages people to take a bus, carpool or walk to the gathering.

Contact Linda Jager, the community engagement manager at City Hall, for more information. She is reachable at 615-5189 or

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