Editorial: On Miners Day, Park City celebrates hard-working spirit that links the present to the past
To most Americans, the September holiday marking the role workers have played in forging our country is known as Labor Day.
In Park City, of course, we have a different name for it: Miners Day, in honor of the silver miners who first trekked to our town in the 1880s in hopes of striking it rich. While Parkites long ago traded in their pickaxes for ski poles, our city’s mining heritage echoes through our history even today.
As we gather in Old Town on Monday for the annual Miners Day festivities, take a moment to reflect on the people who persevered through boom and bust — and a catastrophic fire — to lay the groundwork for what Park City would eventually become.
Most importantly, we should also recognize that their tenacious spirit is still alive and well.
Though Park City’s silver mines are now relics of a bygone era, the success of our thriving town continues to be built on the shoulders of folks who share something in common with the miners of old: a sense of pride in the everyday task of rolling up one’s sleeves and putting in a hard day’s work.
Park City’s status as a world-class skiing destination, and all of the benefits that come with it, is not perpetually assured. It’s a direct result of the contributions of countless people: lifties, merchants, servers, bellhops, repairmen and everyone else who fills the dozens of other jobs that enable our tourism economy to flourish.
At the same time, though, the rising cost of living continues to make it difficult for many of those workers to stake their claim to their own slice of Park City. City and county officials have allotted significant resources to affordable housing initiatives and other measures designed to promote socioeconomic diversity, but there remains much work to be done.
Though the problem is complex and lacks easy answers, there must be a continued push in the coming years from the local governments, along with partners in the private and nonprofit sectors, to find solutions.
The threat is real. If we fail, the vision of our mining-era forebears — that prosperity in this small town was attainable by the sweat of one’s brow — will be extinguished.
Such a fate, however, is not inevitable. And on this Miners Day, we renew our commitment to ensuring this most important legacy of our town’s founders remains intact for generations to come.
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