Editorial: Parkites savor the sweet solitude of the off season
The Park Record editorial, April 26-28, 2017
Empty parking spaces and being able to choose any table at your favorite restaurants is not a sustainable year-round business model, but after a hectic winter of hustle and bustle is sure feels nice.
During the brief interlude after the ski lifts stop churning and before the resorts reopen for the summer, it is possible to imagine Park City’s near ghost town days. It is harder, though, to grasp the anguish those lean years must have inflicted on the city’s shrinking population.
Now that we are a sought-after destination resort town, it is fashionable to bemoan the lift lines, traffic jams and the hard-to-get dinner reservations. But given a choice between thriving and starving, most of us would pick the former.
The challenge, of course, is to avoid the extremes of rampant growth and stagnation and instead carve out a sensible and sustainable middle ground.
Park City is not alone in trying to find that elusive balance. Urban planners around the world are studying ways to create communities that foster economic vitality without sacrificing citizens’ quality of life and our own city and county leaders have been part of that effort. Adequate parking, easy to use public transit, open space conservation, affordable housing and enabling viable commercial districts are all parts of that puzzle.
Local residents should take some time during this brief breather to think about their own lifestyle priorities and consider what roles they might play in helping to guide their community’s destiny. Some suggestions could include: attending a city or county council meeting for a firsthand look at what is at stake, offering to serve on a planning or advisory board, speaking out at a public meeting or just brainstorming with neighbors about how to make their communities a little better.
Before the summer activities rev up and the crowds return, go sit on a park bench, take a slow walk on a nearby trail and talk to your neighbors. With your help, your community can grow up to be a world class city without sacrificing its small town spirit.
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You may not have noticed it if you’ve been too busy soaking up summer, but the Park City Council race is underway. Now is the time to start paying attention.