Sunday in the Park
October 28, 2011
So much to consider…
Ashton showed up still wearing his wedding ring but without Demi?
The Madoffs tried to commit suicide, together, right before he was imprisoned?
Gadaffi’s son (how many ways are there to spell that name?) is hiding with desert nomads?
What is news and what is noise?
In the past two weeks I have been in some conversations with some of my favorite thinky people and we have been noodling, mulling, considering, percolating, what Park City could look like in the immediate and not-so-immediate future, if certain magical conditions came into play and we could create the "just right" stew of situations to cook up something restaurateur Bill White would envy the recipe.
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I love the process and percolation of the outcome, but truth be told, I love the energy that is fueled by bad coffee and cream-filled pastries and folks who, for hours, never once grab their smart phones to see if something more interesting has distracted them from the task at hand. We are all of an age to have lived before the advent of such electronic devices, which seem to supersede good manners. If you had a loved one who was on life support and you needed to check your phone, we would have been happy to accommodate that. Otherwise, we all tacitly agreed to put the devices away and concentrate on the task at hand. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you discard certain noisy distractions.
The folks in the room don’t really know each other, which is useful. They know of each other, but generally their paths don’t cross much, which makes them, as a group, interesting and somewhat unpredictable. When folks from divergent walks of life walk together for a while, they walk out of their comfort zone and are forced to walk their talk — sometimes with a new, or maybe renewed, conviction/occasionally swagger.
I have walked away from these meetings understanding a few guiding principles:
Recreation always matters, but as we age and, as we seek a broader base of visitors and homeowners, we need to accentuate the positive, implied by a vibrant base of residents who love their independent, wacky, unpredictable, embraceable community where dozens of nonprofits exist to create a quality of life that, with apologies to Steven Covey, really does exceed expectations.
The geographic location is remarkable. The level of services, from government to private businesses and back around again to nonprofits, is unparalleled for a town of less than 10,000 full-time residents where, even more remarkable, the number of property owners in the city limits is now two-thirds second-home owners and one-third full-time residents. So who lives here? Who gives here? Who shapes our future?
I know just this much. We have an election in a week. There are no major (governor or presidential) reasons to head to the polls. If you want you think everything is "good enough," there is no real reason to vote. But if you want to send a message, in a democracy there is pretty direct way to seek change: Tell those you have elected in the past they still have your support or tell them there are new folks to take the lead. But creative, thoughtful people have to participate in a democracy or the whole ability to complain about the day-to-dayness falls apart and then, then, the real anarchy starts. Occupy Park City sounds kinda silly since there is no Man to rage against locally and our government is doing a pretty decent job of maintaining and improving our quality of life.
Recently someone asked me how I "found" my interesting job and I gave the answer I realize a lot of lucky folks here can say: "I made it up." Being given a job is one thing; being given the ability to shape it is something else. As Park City continues to have discussions and charettes and forums about the future, I am still a bit in awe at the spirit of commitment here. And though we no longer mine the metal in the mountains, it is the mettle of our community that is now precious.
I’m just grateful that, after more than 30 years, I am increasingly proud to call this home. Every day, starting each Sunday in the Park
Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.