The Park Record Editorial, April 4, 2009 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record Editorial, April 4, 2009

New city vision is critical

The cynics may scoff at Park City’s lofty visioning process, but we believe it is far more constructive to plan for the future than to waste energy regretting the past.

Park City officials have kicked off a series of consultant-led meetings to assess what citizens value most about the community and what they would like to change.

Past visioning exercises have reaffirmed residents’ support for open space and trails and highlighted concerns about issues like traffic, animal control and air quality.

It will be interesting to see whether there have been any significant changes in participants’ priorities this time around. The last time Parkites gathered to brainstorm about the city’s future, the city was flush with optimism and prosperity. The town was still bathed in the afterglow of hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, property values were on the rise and several major new developments were under construction.

This time around, the city and its citizens are coping with a worldwide economic slowdown, increased concerns about climate change, debate over at least two enormous new developments, and continuing controversy over immigration-law enforcement. Whereas previous city councils had budget surpluses to allocate, the current council is looking at trimming expenditures.

For the first time in decades locals are tightening their belts and asking city government to do the same. And that means their priorities may have changed. Now, beautification may have to take a back seat to more practical matters like snow removal, potholes and public safety.

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And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Park City’s skyrocketing reputation as a world-class destination resort forced growth and development into overdrive for at least a decade. As a result, local city, school and county budgets have come to depend on ever-increasing revenues just to maintain an even level of services.

That has created one of the great dichotomies facing local leaders how to sustain the economy while also controlling growth. During the coming meetings we hope the discussion will turn toward tuning Park City’s engine to run on a leaner budget, one less dependent on new development and more focused on maintaining the sense of community that drew us here.

For more information or to get involved in the upcoming Park City visioning process send an email to Community and Public Affairs Manager Phyllis Robinson at probinson@parkcity.org or call her at 435-615-5189. You may also join the city’s FaceBook group at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=58420352046&ref=mf