Guest editorial: What is happening to our town? |

Guest editorial: What is happening to our town?

Valerie Thurnell
Former Parkite now residing in Heber

The snow from the early storm recedes and leaves a blanket of the most magnificent reds ever. And then I look up and see buildings from the Colony breaking the ridge line and I think of the beautiful White Pine canyon that we used to hike and ski but now it is closed off and replaced by massive homes enjoying what is left of the canyon. Other proposed developments are waiting for permission to dynamite more of the mountain for their massive developments overpowering the town.

When will anyone wake up to the realization that Park City was already built out years ago. Quality of life has been fully compromised with endless traffic. Bumper-to-bumper now exists even in the off season. The resorts have been sold out to out-of-town behemoth corporations who can only think in terms of EPIC … not a word about satellite parking … thirsty developers salivate over replacing existing parking with even more high-rise Kaching! buildings.

But, of course, the city has a big campaign for people to take the bus. So, amidst radio announcements of full lots around Main Street and flashing marquees at the high school advertising parking and bus transport from there, I parked, quickly caught a bus and gleefully walked up to the Egyptian … great entertainment, then followed the crowd down to the transit center. Our play ended at 10:30, we hit the transit center at 10:40, only to be told that the buses stopped running at 10:30. So the one bus left called dispatch to see if he could drive our now-large group to the high school. The dispatch said absolutely not. Now fuming, we all starting calling the cab companies (of course the largest transportation company in town had just declared bankruptcy which put many locals out of business). No one answered. In disgust, I started walking … in my light jacket, dark colors, 34 degrees with bicyclist workers whizzing past me, and a major streetlight out down the pitch-black path. I finally managed to cross 248 but from Adolphs two blocks down from the high school, the sprinklers were on and I had no other option but to walk through them so I was sopping wet by the time I got to my car. All I could think of was the senior couple back at the transit center and others, dressed to the nines for the theater with high heels. How did they get back? Main Street was packed on a weekend and transport cut off at 10:30. So much for the false advertisement!

Is it true, really, that the “mammoth” out-of-town-corporate world which is taking over all our ski areas have decided that no longer will there be part-time or volunteer workers? I waited on week-end patrollers for years at the crack-of-dawn and they were the most qualified, dedicated, responsible people to set foot on the mountain. The locals must work two jobs to live and try to fit in skiing. They are the heart of our town and the best ambassadors for Park City. Deer Valley has always hired part time workers, retired seniors, and special needs adults. Will this also be a part of the past?

Since 1973, I have heard the familiar line, “But this was voted in 25 years ago!” Now we have a development poised to blow up the mountain and sit as a fortress behind the town … swallowing up more wildlife habitat and in stark contrast to the existing structures. Parking has been renovated only to be cost-restrictive and a hindrance for locals who want to commune on Main Street. Prospector Square is going to be an art colony benefiting only two of the art entities in Park City and drumming out a local grocery much used by the surrounding neighborhood and a gas station that should be expanded on the lot rather than ousted. What are we thinking?