Record editorial: New Year’s resolutions for our community
2020 is coming to a close. Mercifully.
As we put this turbulent year in the rear-view mirror, residents and our leaders alike must chart the path for what’s next. Just as many Parkites are partaking in the annual tradition of undertaking goals to improve their lives in the year ahead, our community also ought to identify a few New Year’s resolutions.
After a year that, among other things, highlighted the importance of ensuring everyone reaps the benefits of living in an affluent community like ours, here are a few suggestions:
• Redouble efforts to address the affordable housing deficit. As everyone in the Park City area understands, there are no magic-bullet solutions to the dearth of affordable housing. And indeed, the shortfall only continued to grow during 2020 despite modest progress spurred by local governments and housing advocates. Who are the ones being left out of our pricy real estate market (not to mention the competitive rental market)? In many cases, it’s the essential workers we relied on more than ever this year: teachers, first responders, grocery store clerks, nonprofit employees, lower-level municipal staffers — the list goes on. We owe it to them to keep pressing forward on this vexing issue.
• Renewed urgency to achieve social equity goals. Our community understands some of its shortcomings. That’s why the Park City Council in 2018 elevated the ideal of social equity to a critical priority for the municipal government. Though it was clear before, 2020 has underscored how much work remains to become the kind of equitable community City Hall leaders and most of the rest of us envision. Latino residents have borne an outsized brunt of both the health and economic effects of the pandemic in our community, for instance. And the social justice movements in the wake of the killing of George Flloyd sparked much-needed discussions about the role all members of the community, from elected officials on down, must play in addressing racism and bias.
• Invest in our children. Young people have faced their own set of challenges during the pandemic, starting when schools closed their doors in March. Nine months later and halfway through this school year, the learning environment for students is still radically different, though Summit County’s three school districts have done a remarkable job navigating the changes. There is concern that, amid the tumult, some students have fallen behind, as well as worry about how the pandemic is affecting the mental health of our community’s youth. Addressing these concerns will be critical in the years ahead. The cliche that it takes a village to raise a child is true, and it will take a community effort to ensure our children’s futures are just as bright as they were before the crisis began.
• Be kinder to one another. It was a difficult year for everyone, so residents can be forgiven, for the most part, for times when tensions boiled over, such as in the debates over the Black Lives Matter mural on Main Street and the reopening of schools in the fall — or in everyday life when someone took up two parking spots at the grocery store or got a little too close for comfort without a mask. At the same time, the stresses of 2020 are also a reason to be more compassionate. Everyone is going through a tough time, so let’s cut each other some slack. In the coming year, let’s demand better of ourselves. Let’s spend more time focusing on the things that unite us as Parkites — namely our passion for the place we live and our desire to see the community flourish — than we do on our differences. And yes, that means less sniping at one another online and more constructive contributions.
These are just a few areas where we can help our community prosper in the year ahead. If we make progress on them — and the range of other crucial issues we face — we’ll no doubt remember the next 12 months more fondly than the year we’re all happy to be leaving behind.
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