Retiring Harlan pleased with green efforts |

Retiring Harlan pleased with green efforts

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Roger Harlan this month retires from the Park City Council having served during two mayoral administrations, and the differences between the two, he says, were striking.

Harlan talks about the efforts in anticipation of the 2002 Winter Olympics under former Mayor Brad Olch giving way to City Hall’s focus on green issues and other topics related to community building, sometimes called sustainability, under the current mayor, Dana Williams.

"It’s the ethos that’s there in the room when you walk in on a Thursday," Harlan says, referring to the weekly City Council meetings, adding that the green issues are "less sexy than the Olympics but more important to the viability of this town."

Harlan says he has endorsed the green efforts in his home life as well, saying that even before his successful City Council campaign in 2005 his family was recycling frequently and upgrading windows at his house to save energy. He also says he rides the bus to City Council meetings at least once a month.

"I naively thought everyone was doing this," he says, explaining he was surprised that the environmental efforts were not as widespread as he had anticipated. "It turned out we were more in the vanguard than we thought."

Harlan served on the City Council in the 1990s, retired in early 2002 and then reappeared on the political scene in 2005, recapturing a seat on the City Council. He did not seek re-election this year. He plans to remain in Park City. He is a 74-year-old Prospector resident who has lived in Park City since 1987

Harlan talks about several accomplishments related to City Hall’s green efforts as he discusses the successes of his current term. Running the bus fleet on cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel, hiring a staffer to manage City Hall’s environmental programs and building a work force housing project at Snow Creek outfitted with many green elements are some of the highlights of the past four years. The Snow Creek project could be a "showpiece" for City Hall’s green efforts, he says.

"I wanted what we did to be substantive and not frivolous," Harlan says. "I wanted to make sure we weren’t just joining the new green religion."

Meanwhile, Harlan cites what he sees as City Hall’s financial strength, progress on pedestrian and bicyclist routes and the expansion of parks as other successes of his final term on the City Council. He says there is a "consistent pattern" of Parkites endorsing City Hall’s recreation programs.

He is pleased with City Hall’s bus service as well. A former bus driver, Harlan says the passenger numbers have climbed past 2 million in a year. He calls the local bus system, which extends from Park City to the Snyderville Basin, the "top transportation provider of any summer or winter resort in North America."

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