Amy Roberts: All good in the ’hood
I live in Prospector, which I generally consider to be one of the last pockets of a year-round neighborhood within city limits. Obviously year-round locals live everywhere from upper Deer Valley to Thaynes Canyon, but when it comes to having neighbors who help you clean out your gutters, or keep a close eye on your place when you’re out of town, or who spend countless summer nights tipping back a wine glass on the porch as you solve world problems together, well, that’s getting more and more difficult to find. Between vacation homes, nightly rentals and new COVID refugees — not all neighborhoods are neighborly.
Many of the people on my street have been my neighbors since I moved to Park City nearly 20 years ago. Turnover is a big deal, and in the past two decades, new neighbors have mostly only been the result of a death or a divorce. In the summers, there’s a posse of kiddos riding bikes, selling lemonade and chalking driveways for a game of hopscotch. We drive slowly, wave to one another, borrow things and share garage codes. We know each other’s pets, problems and preferences.
I don’t have kids, but I have tiny handprints all over my storm door because the girls who live across the street like to come over and visit. My neighbor two houses down doesn’t have dogs, but he always has a milk bone for mine when they wander down his way. When my other neighbors found themselves pet-less after 12 years, I just happened to be fostering a puppy perfect for their family, so now she’s my neighbor too. I prefer this sort of communal village system to living anonymously among strangers. We don’t just look out for each other on Little Bessie, we like each other too.
I think that’s why I’ve been rather surprised to hear people say this November’s election is “tearing our town apart.” There seems to be a general sentiment that the races for City Council and mayor have gotten ugly, personal even — pitting neighbor against neighbor. If this is true, I’m happily oblivious. On my street, you’ll find any number of yard signs supporting all the candidates, and it hasn’t changed the dynamic. We still like each other.
I am supporting Nann Worel for mayor and have been volunteering on her campaign. One of my neighbors is supporting Andy Beerman and is volunteering on his campaign. We’re both actively involved and invested in our candidates of choice, but we’re also invested in remaining friends, respecting each other’s opinion and living peacefully next to one another come Nov. 3.
Earlier this summer when alliances were first being formed, we acknowledged it might be awkward when one of us held a meet-and-greet and didn’t invite the other. But it would be equally awkward for the neighbor supporting the other candidate to decline an invite or attend as a spy. We both agreed we’ve had different personal experiences that have shaped our perspectives and led to our decisions, and neither one of us was wrong. “Cheers to being politically involved but not personally vengeful,” one of our text messages read.
While this amicable approach might be more difficult on a national level where the differences in candidates’ personalities and platforms is striking and the consequences are severe, as the saying goes, “all politics is local.” Arguably, the outcome of the upcoming mayoral race will have a bigger impact on our day-to-day lives than the outcome of the next presidential campaign. As will what happens next — the day after the election.
No matter the victor, we will still bump into both candidates at the grocery store. We will still need to solve problems as a community. And we will still be neighbors who occasionally need to borrow a cup of sugar.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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