Trip: neon and deep blue
Neon pink and deep, deep blue could be the official colors of the 2006 edition of City Hall’s ‘city tour.’
The group of about 60 government officials, community leaders and regular Parkites is scheduled to leave on Wednesday for a five-day trip to the Reno-Lake Tahoe region, home to one of America’s densest concentrations of ski resorts and one of the nation’s premier gambling destinations.
It is unknown how many of them will be packing rolls of quarters in their suitcases.
But the organizer of the trip, Myles Rademan, who is City Hall’s Public Affairs director, says that the group will not be pulling up seats in front of the slot machines as a scheduled event. Instead, Rademan, as he does before each of the annual city tours to resorts in the West, has arranged for the Parkites to meet with a series of officials in the other cities.
The group is expected to learn about tourism, growth, the economy, the environment and other overarching issues that the California and Nevada communities face. Lots of the discussions will likely resemble the political battles of Park City and surrounding Summit County.
"Anytime you get out of your own zip code, it opens your eyes," Rademan says.
The group plans to arrive in Reno Wednesday evening, head to Truckee, Calif., on Thursday, move to South Lake Tahoe, Calif., on Friday and Saturday and return to Park City on Sunday.
Rademan has arranged side trips to Northstar-at-Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA and Heavenly Mountain Resort, three of the region’s mountain resorts. But he says that the other stops on the trip, Reno and Truckee, will be intriguing as well.
Rademan says that leaders in Reno have redeveloped parts of the city and that, although Reno is known as a gambling destination, its economy is diverse.
He talks about the River Walk, along the Truckee River, which the merchants there describe as an arts district, according to the River Walk Merchants Association’s World Wide Web site.
Rademan says officials in Reno could tell the trip-goers about adjusting the economy from one almost exclusively based on a single industry. He says, some day, Park City could be forced to do so.
"The whole industry they’re in has shifted," Rademan says, adding, "We might be looking here at our business changing over time — global warming."
In Reno, the city’s mayor talks with pride about Reno’s transition into a diversified tourism economy. In an interview, Robert Cashell, the first-term mayor, says about half of the taxes the city collects are generated by the gaming industry. Before, between 80 and 90 percent came from the casinos, he says.
"We don’t just have gambling," Cashell says.
He talks about tourists visiting Reno for its golf courses, mountain biking and a whitewater-rafting course that opened a few years ago in downtown Reno, on the Truckee River.
"It’s really changed the whole atmosphere in one area," he says about the rafting park.
Cashell says visitors sometimes split their vacations between the mountain resorts and the casinos in Reno.
City Hall considers the trips each year as valuable outings as Park City tries to stay competitive with the other mountain resorts in the region. Rademan has taken the trips to many of the resorts in the West, including Colorado mountain towns and locations in Montana, New Mexico and Idaho.
Rademan usually schedules trips to regions with medium-sized cities, such as Grand Junction, Colo., and Missoula, Mont., and small resort communities like ski towns close to each other.
He last took the trip to the Lake Tahoe area about a decade ago.
This year’s trip is expected to cost about $600 per person, with the government picking up the tabs of the officials. City Hall plans to send about a dozen people and Summit County signed up about six people. Others scheduled to go represent the Wasatch County, resorts and the Sundance Institute.
Bill Malone, the executive director of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, who plans to travel with the group, says the Parkites could discover how to better market summertime tourism, long a goal in Park City. Malone says he wants to listen to people in Lake Tahoe talk about how to draw sponsors to summer events and talk about cooperative marketing efforts for the Lake Tahoe mountain resorts.
"They do a spectacular amount of summer business. A lot of that has to do with the fact they have a great body of water there," he says, adding, "They do a very good job of depicting Lake Tahoe as a destination."
There is expected to be some discussions between the Park City group and the leaders in Reno and Lake Tahoe about the Winter Olympics.
Reno may try to host an Olympics and Squaw Valley was site of the 1960 Winter Games.
Malone says, 46 years after the Olympics in Squaw Valley, tourism officials continue to use the Games in their marketing of the ski resort.
Cashell, the Reno mayor, says he was a key figure in the region’s attempt to become America’s bid city for the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were awarded to Utah.
When the International Olympic Committee chose Salt Lake City, the Reno organizers wondered how their bid lost, he says with wryness but without explicitly mentioning the Salt Lake bribery scandal.
"I never could figure out why," Cashell says.
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