‘Soul of Old Town’ retires | ParkRecord.com

‘Soul of Old Town’ retires

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

There have been few people elected to the Park City Council in recent years who remember early 1970s Park City, the era when silver mining was on its fateful decline and the ski industry was years away from flourishing.

But Marianne Cone brought that historic perspective to the City Council when she took office four years ago as an artist and Old Town resident whose history in the city dates to the 1940s.

Cone, who did not seek re-election to a second term in 2007, steps off the City Council having served during a period of widespread City Hall popularity, with regular Parkites generally happy with the local government and many critics acknowledging the successes in the post-Winter Olympic era.

"I don’t think there are many whiners in town," Cone says in an interview.

She is 63 years old, married to David Chaplin, who is a member of the Park City School Board, and an artist. Cone has lived most of her life in Park City, having been born in the city, leaving from the early 1950s until the early 1970s and staying in Park City since 1971. She lives on Prospect Avenue, but she and Chaplin plan to move to another place, with a garage, in the city.

Her artworks are installed in many places around Park City, and Cone was seen as holding a place on the City Council that Park City voters like to keep for someone who lives in Old Town. Liza Simpson, who also lives in the neighborhood, will replace Cone.

Cone talks about the importance of Old Town to Park City’s image. The neighborhood is the most politically charged in the city, with architects and house designers often criticizing City Hall’s strict Old Town construction rules.

Before City Hall started a wide-ranging discussion about Old Town more than a year ago, the builders started to dominate the neighborhood, Cone says, especially critical of additions to historic houses she says are too big.

"You see everything you build here," Cone says about Old Town. "Even a paint job — that shows."

New houses, meanwhile, should not overwhelm the neighbors, Cone argues, describing her vision of a nice Old Town house as being quaint compared to the larger ones built in the neighborhood.

"Smaller houses, a one-car garage, would be good. That’s plenty," she says, talking about what she calls the importance of the Old Town streetscapes. "I think smaller’s fine. If it’s too small, you can go out for a walk."

Cone also mentions other challenges the government faces in the neighborhood, including making sure the Main Street revelry does not spill into Old Town’s residential streets. The Main Street area is tightly packed, and there have been long-running complaints by some people who live nearby the popular shopping, dining and entertainment street.

"I think it’s a different lifestyle. It’s not suburbia," Cone says.

Her work for the neighborhood, as well as her insistence that publicly displayed art makes the city more attractive, drew praise from other elected officials during a City Council meeting in late December, her last as a member of the panel.

Mayor Dana Williams called Cone a "class act," and City Councilwoman Candy Erickson spoke about Cone’s devotion to Old Town.

"Marianne has been the soul of Old Town," Erickson said.

Cone counts City Hall’s move toward being more environmentally friendly as another success of her term. The local government adheres to a theory known as ‘sustainability,’ or lessening the city’s impact on the environment, and Cone says she supports the green-building efforts.

She wants more solar power used in the city and praises the efforts of Park City’s mountain resorts. Cone also touts a heating and cooling system that relies on the Earth’s internal energy that was installed at the new police station and the city’s use of biodiesel, a cleaner-burning fuel, in the municipal fleet.

"I think the city needs to be the example," Cone says.

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