Teri Orr: Leadership is a verb | ParkRecord.com

Teri Orr: Leadership is a verb

Teri Orr

Nann Worel is a good friend of mine. Let me just state that first. I have known her in good times and bad. Hers and mine. I have watched her take on leadership roles since she moved here — full time — in 2008 after having been a part-time resident since ’03. She stepped up right away — first as a volunteer for the People’s Health Clinic and then as director. She is a former Navy nurse. She understood the need and the goals. The organization — as happens at many nonprofits — had a board that wasn’t high functioning. She put the stipulation in place that she would only take the job if they adopted a different governance style. And then she spent eight years building upon the goodwill from the community — our collective desire to help provide free health care for the underserved. The People’s Health Clinic is one of our great jewels here. It has taken dedicated board members, passionate community support, strong leadership and planning to become the beloved organization it is now.

Park Record columnist Teri Orr.

While Nann was director of the clinic — a vacancy opened mid-term for a Planning Commission seat and she was appointed in 2010. Which meant, in front of her would be all the “joy” that surrounded years of debate over all the development rights at the land that became the Film Studio. And then, in the general vicinity that is now the proposed arts and culture district, there was a giant debate surrounding “form-based code.” In a nutshell it was a kind of live/work/play model. The community HATED that plan. It might have also allowed for eight-story buildings there. The city ended up buying the land from the developer to find uses that were more compatible with community needs and desires. It is now referred to as the Bonanza Park Arts and Culture District.

Nann resigned her position as a planning commissioner when she was elected to the City Council in 2015. What she brought with her was years of experience running a beloved successful nonprofit that provided free care for the underserved — the very work force here in Park City. And she brought with her all those years of late-night debates over the nuances of planning and zoning and needed affordable housing units. She stepped down from her role at the clinic in mid-2016 to focus solely on her City Council duties.

What Nann became aware of, from the inside, was how the sausage was made, though she had had a whiff of that with Planning Commission. In a word — it was messy. And overall, inside City Hall there was a lack of planning on all kinds of fronts. And a lack of strong leadership in key positions. And the seniors in the community — many who have lived here much of their long lives had been/were being neglected — overlooked — shuffled around. And major developments in the pipeline — the parking lots of both resorts and all that land she worked with zoning in the first place at the at the Film Studio — still needed serious direction.

What I remember about living in Park City in the late ’70s when I moved here was the volunteer fire department that were also the ambulance team. We used to say — They never lost a foundation. I think of that now — we often bring in planners to try and right the ship/building after the smoke has cleared from the planning approval mistakes. Nann has worked to try and look at things before they need fixing, more as they are developing, to plan for the future. Think of it as hair on fire —prevention.

Some of the County Council members are also my friends. For a long time. It took a lot for them to write that guest editorial in support of Nann and they know the price if the incumbent wins instead. But I also have watched the issues over regional planning dissolve in the past few years. Over transportation most clearly but also over planning and zoning and picking up the trash. When the majority of county councilors can no longer pick up the phone and talk to the mayor, our government is broken.

The future for Park City is welded to the county (I know you think that should be wedded but there has already been a divorce). We need our trash picked up and our buses to seamlessly get residents and guests from A to Q and all the other stops. We need regional planning. Yes, we created a land moat of open space around us but it was never meant to exclude our neighbors. We all live in the county too.

When we learned in March of 2020 there was a virus and it was spreading fast, Nann was helping the senior center sanitize and shutter the space. The mayor was out of the country and zooming in from his hotel room. Posting travel photos. Steve Joyce was mayor pro tem. Andy did not rush back.

Nann would right away get to work on the issues at hand — she would create regional meetings with the resorts and the county and the Chamber/Bureau to all gather at the table to work together from the start. Because we are facing the most critical growth to ever be considered for Park City. When our current mayor talks about wanting to lead the country in climate change efforts but in the next breath talks about bringing the Olympics back here in 2030 — the same timeframe global leaders and scientists say we have left to lower the temperature in all ways on the planet, I have a hard time not seeing those efforts as mutually exclusive. But they are both shiny. Doing the work of regional planning is tough stuff and only matters if we care what an authentic climate-controlled planet looks like by 2030.

I have pages of reasons you should vote for Nann. But here’s the last one for now … her favorite quiet place in Park City is the McLeod Creek Trail. It wanders along the water, a few blocks from my home. Sure, she skis and golfs and bikes and all those things but when she needs quiet, she finds it in a place that is — if not the road, at least the trail, less traveled. I look forward to the collaborative thoughtful changes she will make as mayor. And I look forward to a celebration stroll with her along the creek on an upcoming November, Sunday in the Park…

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the founder of the Park City Institute, which provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. She has been a member of the TED community since 2007 and founded TEDxParkCity in 2009.


Teri Orr: Turn, turn, turn…

This is that weekend. At least, I think it might be. The one perfect fall weekend where the aspen trees are orange and yellow against the evergreens and the maples are red, and the slant of the light tells us the days are getting shorter.

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