Letters to the Editor: ‘$30 million bond? No!,’ ‘What Park City does not have,’ ‘Forum Monday focused on climate change’
$30 million bond? No!
I’m sorry, I simply cannot get on board with all the avid fans of a $30 million bond to support pickleball and ice hockey.
The letters to the editor in this newspaper, and the publicly paid-for mailings from Park City Municipality all offer the same excuses for this massively increased indebtedness in order to benefit a small percentage of Park City citizens.
Many years ago, we went through the same exercise in order to justify a public purchase of the racquet club. There were similar pro and opposed voices on that issue, but the proposal passed. Today the MARC provides recreational opportunities to quite a small percentage of Park City residents, but those do tend to be the most vocal residents regarding publicly funding Park City recreation.
It is very clear, as has been mentioned in a few good letters here, that there are much better places for that $30 million of public funds to be used. I believe a project well-worth consideration for public financing needs to be one for wildlife corridors to protect animals along Highway 224. Can you imagine how many deer, elk and moose that $30 million could buy?
The tennis players, pickleball, players, skaters and fitness users of the MARC should get upgraded facilities. But it does not make economic sense for those upgrades to be shouldered by the wider taxpayer base. And we need to keep in mind that the $30 million only addresses acquisition and building expenses without mentioning the ongoing operation and maintenance costs, which already run at a serious deficit.
I do sympathize with the various organized recreation fans, but I don’t really think the totality of Park City should be paying any more for their fun. One question to keep in mind: What percentage of the current users of the existing ice rink and MARC facilities actually are paying to fund them now?
Personally, I am a big fan of air racing, but I have not gone to my friends and neighbors to ask them to contribute to my fuel and maintenance cost, especially not with a long-term debt for those monies. I doubt that you would see many supporting letters here were I to propose that.
Very simply put, I believe that a city’s long-term public indebtedness should be reserved for significant improvements or high-value open space purchases. There simply is no real justification for using taxpayer monies to build your ball court or ice sheet.
Please think very carefully about how you are going to vote on this $30 million bond proposal.
What Park City does not have
Every great city or town has a vibrant, engaging arts district — a place where their local artists and creative makers are able to create and sell their work and are able to engage with the community. These areas are not fancy, and are usually born organically in areas with low rent and minimal amenities. These areas attract tourists and locals alike, and are a valued and loved part of their communities. Park City does not have this.
Yes, Park City has galleries on Main, but that is not the same as an engaging local arts district that features retail shops for local makers, collective gallery space and studios. The Main Street galleries serve their purpose catering to second-home owners and collectors that can afford expensive paintings and art, and that’s great. Local art does not compete with that. There is room in this town for both.
The Kimball Arts Center also deserves a space in this district. It is important to note that the arts center and local art representation are not synonymous. The Kimball does an amazing job at offering classes, and interesting exhibits, but local art gets lost in the middle of those two ventures.
When I worked at CreatePC, the local arts collective retail and gallery shop sponsored by the Arts Council, literally every person that came in said something like, “I’m so glad I found this place. I always look for the local art shops when I travel.” It was loved by the tourists and locals alike. Now, with CreatePC gone, there is very little representation of local artists and creative makers in Old Town, and indeed, it kind of feels like we are not wanted or valued there.
Summit County’s local arts community is full of talented, passionate artists, yet the local arts scene has largely been lost or certainly not nurtured. As a result, the arts scene in Park City is becoming less diversified and not as unique.
There is always an argument for more affordable housing and that’s valid, but this is not the place for it. Do you really want a bunch more condos in generic buildings rising up in this area?
I would argue that Park City/Summit County is doing a great job in adding affordable housing to the area: Silver Creek Village, Engine House, in the Canyons, by the film studio, to name just a few. What we do in this space will affect the feel of our community forever. We need more than Main Street. Development decisions must be made thoughtfully, as once this area is gone, that’s it, no more opportunities to add flavor to this town.
A community full of art is a community full of culture. Imagine an area where this culture is thriving! The 5-acre parcel and surrounding area is an exciting possibility for activating a cool, vibrant, engaging space.
Imagine Kimball Arts Center on one corner, artists in their studios interacting with people while they create. Affordable art that is accessible to all. Add in creative-maker retail spaces. Murals on buildings. Music. Food trucks. An atmosphere that is lively, and creative and fun.
This is art reflecting life, and this is the kind of arts community locals and tourists crave. This type of vibrant local arts scene is sorely missing in Park City and would be a huge benefit, now and in the future.
Karen Millar Kendall
Forum Monday focused on climate change
Last month, I had the privilege of attending an event hosted by Summit County Health that shed light on the profound connection between mental health and climate change. During the event, I came across a particularly striking statistic from a 2021 survey of 10,000 young people in 10 countries, aged 16-25. The survey revealed that close to 60% of these young individuals expressed feeling “very” or “extremely” worried about the impending threat of climate change.
A year ago, I found myself deeply disheartened by the escalating impacts of climate change. It was at that point that I decided to step off the sidelines and actively engage with organizations that were dedicated to combating the adverse effects of our rapidly rising temperatures.
Through my involvement, I’ve had the privilege of meeting numerous individuals who are dedicating their intellect, passion, and time to effect change at the local, state, federal, and global levels. Moreover, I’ve come to appreciate the significant contributions made by public, private, and non-profit organizations that are on the front lines of innovation, policy change, and conservation efforts.
My perspective has significantly shifted, and I am now more optimistic about our collective ability to confront and address climate change than when I was solely an observer of news reports and documentaries.
For anyone grappling with climate anxiety, my heartfelt recommendation is to get involved in climate action. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, 6 p.m. at the Santy Auditorium, the Wasatch Back Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-partisan group committed to building political will for climate solutions, will be co-hosting a panel discussion with Park City’s six city council candidates.
The purpose of this event is to explore the ways in which Park City’s actions can make a meaningful impact on addressing climate change. I encourage you to join us and take part in the conversation. It’s an excellent opportunity to delve into the issues and discover how you can contribute to the cause.
Grateful for Live PC Give PC support
We would like to express our immense gratitude to Park City Mountain and Vail Resorts EpicPromise for their unwavering support as presenting sponsor of our community’s annual giving day on November 3. Live PC Give PC epitomizes the spirit of unity and generosity that defines Park City, and Park City Mountain’s involvement exemplifies their commitment to our local nonprofits.
Beyond their steadfast support of Live PC Give PC, Park City Mountain has recognized our community’s critical challenges and stepped in to invest in real solutions. Last year, Park City Mountain supported by Vail Resorts EpicPromise contributed $4,500,000 to 24 Park City nonprofits providing critical programming for local families.
In deep partnership and understanding of the need, they focused on two key areas of support — child care and affordable housing. They’ve pledged over $675,000 to expanding child care and preschool in the community, including $400,000 through our Red Pine gondola cabin fundraiser, and $250,000 in multiyear support to Mountainlands Community Housing Trust for working families’ access to local housing. It’s heartwarming to watch Park City Mountain genuinely care and play a pivotal role in bolstering our nonprofits and helping them move their missions forward.
As we gear up for Live PC Give PC, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to our entire community for participating and to amazing sponsors like Park City Mountain and Vail Resorts EpicPromise that help make it all possible. Cheers to an amazing year!
Park City Community Foundation
The best day of the year is Nov. 3
Seriously the best day of the year in Park City is LivePCGivePC when everyone in the community comes together to give to the non-profits – that make Park City what it is. Our community is based on what our citizens and non-profits give to make our community what it is. I hope you’ll join me in going to the website livepcgivepc.org on November 3 and giving to your favorite organizations. And join in the enthusiasm and energy throughout town on that day. Thank you!
Let’s stem the wildlife carnage on 224
We all know what happens on our roads — Park City’s S.R. 224, in particular. Drivers and large animals too frequently collide. We need real solutions.
Next year S.R. 224 will be expanded by 40% and 60% between Kimball Junction and Park City proper, becoming at least a six-lane thoroughfare. The intention is to increase Bus Rapid Transit by adding dedicated bus lanes on either side, plus bike lanes, walking lanes and curbs. S.R. 224 will change from its current 82-foot width to between 115- and 131-foot width, according to BRT designs. Travelers will still be incommoded with traffic pinch points at the beginning and end of 224. More importantly, this project will increase driver-wildlife collisions unless our community takes action.
Utah taxpayers spend an estimated $130+ million annually in damages and deaths from driver-wildlife collisions. As it stands, Park City’s S.R. 224 is the fifth most dangerous stretch of road in the entire state of Utah for these types of collisions. The new road will fill the corridor from Swaner Nature Preserve, past McPolin’s historic white barn, and into Park City proper, resembling I-80.
The number of driver-wildlife incidents and deaths will increase without additional safety measures. If we must expand the road, wildlife fencing and a natural wildlife passage over or under S.R. 244 should be included and built before spreading asphalt. These wildlife connectivity measures will pay for themselves in nearly two years, costing one sum of $3-$5 million, plus maintenance. Compare that to the annual millions we pay for incidents without these safeguards.
As we see and lament the carnage of deer, elk and moose daily along 224, not to mention what we do not readily see in human consequences, I wonder why safety was not factored into the project. Why are Park City and Summit County acquiring open spaces to protect views, wildlife and habitat while concurrently planning to significantly expand this wide-open, unprotected road?
Wildlife fencing and passage over or under the road would reduce incidents and deaths by up to 90%. Wildlife passages are that effective. Google the praise given UDOT for building the wildlife overpass that we hardly notice at the Parley’s Canyon summit.
If we care about wildlife, drivers, safety and views, let’s act on this and insist on fencing and animal connectivity. The animals know no better. They cross the road to seek water, food, partners and herds. They are most active at dusk, night and dawn when drivers struggle to see them and can’t avoid collisions when they finally do. We have the knowledge and wherewithal to address safety on behalf of both drivers and wildlife. Let’s do it.
I urge that individually and together we communicate with our Summit County and Park City Council members. Council members have expressed a preference for email. If you support safe wildlife fencing and passage on 224, which naturally increases driver safety, please write an email letter as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org. All email letters will be given to the Park City and Summit County councils. Also, visit https://savepeoplesavewildlife.org/. The folks who run this organization have done the lion’s share of research for the rest of us, tracking this subject for years.
Candidate forum focused on climate
Living on the outskirts of Park City, I have had the privilege of witnessing and taking advantage of the remarkable strides made in sustainability in Park City, from their eco-friendly electric buses to the flourishing green businesses.
That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of the Citizen Climate Lobby Wasatch Back group, one of the key sponsors of the upcoming Climate Solutions Panel on Nov. 1. Together we will explore the candidate’s strategies for advancing Park City’s pioneering, leadership role in curbing polluting emissions, protecting our common home from a changing climate and safeguarding the air we breathe.
This is an opportunity to hear the ideas of Park City’s future candidates, as we pose pressing questions from both our youth and the wider community.
Are you curious about their plans to reduce waste, improve transit systems, and create eco-friendly buildings? Eager to understand how they’ll preserve the invaluable trees and soil that act as carbon sinks in our community? What questions do you have?
Join us on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m., when the conversation takes center stage at the Jim Santy Auditorium, in the Park City Library. Let’s collectively speak up for a greener, more sustainable future for our beloved Park City.
Citizens Climate Lobby Wasatch Back
The elusive ‘S’ in a grand ol’ name
Park City exists because of treasure — primarily, silver treasure. Back in 1868 a couple of miners found some promising looking rocks up behind what is now Cushing’s Cabin at Deer Valley.
They stuck a staff in the ground and attached a flag to mark their claim. This eventually became the Flagstaff Mine, the first mine in the Park City area. This original silver treasure eventually gave way to the current winter sports treasure.
On Dec. 21, 1963, Treasure Mountains ski resort opened. That is Treasure Mountains, with an “S,” not “Treasure Mountain.” It remained Treasure Mountains until it was renamed Park City Resort in 1968.
Ever since that time many folks have been misspelling the original name. Perhaps the confusion started in 1965, when the Treasure Mountain Inn officially opened; or 1982, when Treasure Mountain Junior High Schooo opened. There is a Treasure Hill (top of Payday chairlift), and a Treasure Hollow Ski Run at Park City Mountain, but there never was a Treasure Mountain ski resort.
It’s time we started showing our grand old mountain some respect. Don’t forget the “S” when writing about Treasure Mountains. See you there on Nov. 17.
Treasure Mountains Ski Patrol
Should share the cost burden for recreation
Facing consistent pressure from non-Parkite pickleball enthusiasts, the Park City City Council deftly and purposefully deflected responsibility to ballot in the form of the shortsighted and frankly punitive Go Bond.
Park City is indeed a recreation town. We love our non-downhill activities from Nordic to mountain biking and more recently pickleball.
That said, I’m bewildered and appalled that the surrounding community has the audacity to harass our government to put this irresponsible initiative to vote. There are 70,000 people in Wasatch and Summit counties who use our facilities at the same fee structure as Parkites, while not sharing in the property tax onus.
Why are we Parkites even considering this handout? The City Council did Parkites a disservice. Go Bond supporters encouraged aspirational youth figure skaters and other athletes into publicly supporting the bond via council meeting comments and letters to this very newspaper. Attempts to manipulate public sentiment haven’t persuaded me. This initiative isn’t fair.
If approved, the Go Bond will cost the average non-resident Parkite an additional $20 per month to support facilities they most likely won’t even use. That’s $240/year or $144 to subsidize facilities that most of us won’t use. I support recreation, but this bond is an affront to Park City taxpayers. These construction costs should either be shared by the surrounding citizens or there should be a zip code based fee structure.
Vote no on the Go Bond. If Parkites and the surrounding community truly want these facilities, let’s equally bear the tax burden.
Where will the water come from?
Where is the new Mayflower ski project getting its water to make snow? Because they’re obviously going to have to make snow. The Jordanelle? Has the local government granted permission to use this community resource? If we don’t have enough water for our grass, how could we possibly have enough water for more snowmaking? The snow isn’t going to fall from the sky no matter how much people hope it will. Scientists tell us that it needs to snow for eight and more years like it did this past winter in order to return to some type of “normal” — which, of course, won’t happen. This is the new normal.
What’s happening with the Park City government? Why do real estate developers almost always get approval for what they ask? There are new builds everywhere, not to mention the projects at Deer Valley and Park City Mountain. Where is the affordable housing that has been promised for decades? I agree with Angela Moschetta that Park City and its environs need some type of moratorium on building to have time to do studies and develop plans.
We have 1) diminishing water resources and no water conservation plan; 2) no urban development plan; 3) no infrastructure plan; and 4) no traffic mitigation plan that I can tell. If the city does have these plans, it would certainly be nice to know.
What about the often-discussed parking lots/structures on the outskirts of town that would allow workers to park their cars and take shuttles to/from their jobs in Park City in a bus-only lane? Less traffic, less pollution of both airborne and noise levels, less aggravation. This summer, northbound 224 was a parking lot at 3:30 p.m., with one person/car. It’s outrageous, a waste of fuel and human energy, and so unnecessary.
We have skied in Park City for almost 40 years, and lived here part time since we bought our condo in 1999. We are increasingly saddened by the “progress” that’s happening in our beautiful and special part of the world.
Dr. Jan E. Prokop
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