St. Luke’s forum to focus on regional solutions
If you go
What: Regional planning forum
When: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24
Where: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 4595 North Silver Springs Drive
Living in a mountain town has its advantages — views, recreation opportunities, a sense of community.
But living in such an attractive place tends to attract others, exacerbating issues like traffic, affordability and pollution.
When housing costs rise around Park City, for instance, young families might move out to Wasatch County, which is then tasked with educating their kids, plowing the snow on their streets and picking up the garbage. Driving into Park City or the Snyderville Basin for work puts more cars on the road and creates more traffic, while Wasatch County doesn’t get the benefit of commercial taxes from those businesses to pay for the impacts of their employees living there.
But there may be regional solutions to regional problems, and in an attempt to jump-start that conversation, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is hosting its latest Project for Deeper Understanding on the topic of regional planning.
The forum is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at the church, 4595 North Silver Springs Drive. There will be an hourlong moderated discussion among the panelists followed by a question-and-answer period with the audience.
The panelists include Park City Mayor Andy Beerman, Summit County Community Development Director Pat Putt, Wasatch County Council Chair Danny Goode, Park City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Malone and a representative each from the town of Hideout and the Mountainland Association of Governments.
Summit County Councilor Glenn Wright, who is organizing the event, said it will provide an opportunity to start a public conversation about regional solutions. And if municipalities publicly state a willingness to work together on an issue and say they’re on the same page, it could be a first step to finding real solutions.
Wright said transportation is an issue that will likely see more regional coordination in the future. The Utah Department of Transportation proposal to widen S.R. 248 within Park City to alleviate traffic flow highlighted the need for a broader approach, he said, as it didn’t take into account where westbound cars go once they reach the S.R. 224 intersection or where they’ve come from.
Local elected officials have said mass transportation is the key to solving traffic problems. One possible improvement would be to add bus service to outlying communities. Park City Transit has a bus line going out to Kamas, for example, but it passes Hideout, which is in Wasatch County, without stopping.
Hosting these conversations is nothing new for St. Luke’s, Rev. Charles Robinson said. He started them 14 years ago and the church holds about five per year. Grappling with growth is a common topic, he said; past forums have focused on issues like affordable housing, immigration, abortion and education.
He said his motivation for starting the forums in 2005 was to combat the increasing polarization in American life.
“We (live in) these cultural bubbles and if you’re in the bubble, you’re OK, if you’re outside the bubble, you’re not OK and I shouldn’t talk to you,” he said. “(These forums) give them a chance to listen to people they might not otherwise listen to.”
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Parkites see traffic and transportation as Park City’s biggest challenge over the next five to 10 years, a City Hall-hired firm that is leading the efforts to craft a community vision has found as part of its research. And they also see transportation solutions as one of the two top opportunities, alongside strategic development, during the same period, the research found.