The Park Record editorial, April 15, 2009 |

The Park Record editorial, April 15, 2009

Savoring the shoulder season

Typically, local residents heave a sigh of relief at the close of the ski season. Traffic thins out, parking places reappear on Main Street and it is possible, once again, to eat out on the spur of the moment without a reservation.

But this spring, it is proving a little tougher to sit back and enjoy the slowdown.

Many merchants whose businesses were affected by the economic downturn find themselves with slimmer reserves to tide them over the shoulder season. And seasonal workers who usually the savor time off between winter and summer employment are instead worrying about the uncertain job market.

Lodging figures compiled by the Park City Chamber/Bureau show a year-to-date drop in visitor nights of about 11 percent compared to last year and fiscal analysts are pegging the dip in local sales-tax collections at 23 percent. While those indicators are not dire yet, pinching pennies is an unfamiliar exercise for a resort town and it is creating a high level of angst from Old Town to New Park.

Nevertheless, we hope that, despite economic pressures, Parkites will celebrate the off season as they usually do reconnecting with their town and, most importantly, with each other.

Over the next few weeks, while the snow melts, take some time to meander through the neighborhood and check up on families that may be having a hard time navigating through this leaner-than-usual season. The Park City work force has experienced its share of layoffs and some of our neighbors may be trying to put up a brave front even though they no longer have a steady paycheck or health insurance.

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The economy will either improve or it will get worse. Other than spending conservatively and making wise investments, there isn’t much local leaders can do to influence the outcome. If business begins to pick up, worrying will have been a waste of energy. But if the recession deepens, we will need each other more than ever.