Say thanks to departing employees by promising to work on housing issues | ParkRecord.com

Say thanks to departing employees by promising to work on housing issues

The Park Record editorial

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The lifts at Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort will unload their last guests of the 2016-2017 ski season at the end of the day on Sunday, and it is a sure bet some will be glancing wistfully over their shoulders at the still-snow-covered slopes. It has been a great winter season but has also presented challenges.

The weather, as always, was full of surprises. There was that two-week long parade of snow storms in January followed by a premature run of spring-like sunshine in February. Then it was back to snow in March, just enough to ensure perfect spring skiing conditions right through Easter.

And the ones who deserve the credit for taming Mother Nature's wild mood swings this winter are the thousands of employees who made sure the slopes were skiable, the beds made, the hot chocolate hot, and the skis tuned. They showed up despite blizzard conditions, plow parking lots, shovel stairways, sweep snow off the chairlifts, and work past sunset to usher guests from mountaintop to main course and, finally, home to their cozy beds. Snow or sunshine, lifties, patrollers, chefs, waiters, bartenders, drivers and maintenance workers manned their stations and made sure Park City's ballyhooed resorts and restaurants lived up to their marketing campaigns.

In a very literal sense, we couldn't do it without them. Approximately half of Summit County's 28,000 jobs are directly related to recreation, entertainment, lodging, retail and food service – the ones that keep the tourism industry humming. They are also the ones who have the most face-to-face contact with our visitors – the ones who are remembered and asked for year after year.

So before many of those hard-working employees pack up their belongings and head off to their next adventure, we wanted to say thanks. Any accolades bestowed on the community belong to them, as much as anyone else.

But, in addition to gratitude, we also owe those employees a pledge to work harder on housing issues to make their next sojourn in Park City more affordable and more comfortable.

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A significant number of the town's positions are seasonal, or fluctuate dramatically as the resorts shift from winter to summer. Those ups and downs add to the financial challenges for both employees and employers.

The city, the county, the resorts and other businesses need to rededicate themselves to solving our employee housing crisis — whether that means creating incentives for developers, streamlining multi-unit inspection services to ensure safe housing conditions, enforcing existing affordable housing requirements, subsidizing projects, or some combination of each.