Guest opinion: Our community has pressing problems. But don’t forget how lucky we are to live here.
Given the COVID resurgence, continued political discord and apocalyptic western fires and eastern storms … staying upbeat can seem a little fruitless. I recently had some uplifting experiences reminding me of how fortunate I am to be in Park City.
I attended a memorial for a very special lady whose generosity of spirit and love for Park City was repeatedly emphasized by those who offered remembrances. She donated freely, embraced change and lived a life full of family, friends and fun. Then as a Rotarian, I was present at several awards luncheons, organized by my friend Bob Richer, at which the Park City Rotary Club honored Professional and Volunteer Citizens of the Year, as well as all those who contributed to Summit County’s mass vaccination program. I then attended and spoke at the Chamber/Bureau’s annual luncheon, where this year’s annual Spirit of Hospitality Award winner, Adolph Imboden, was honored. Then our town celebrated a great Miners Day gathering, and we dedicated a statue to Rich Martinez, “The Old Miner,” who bridged and embraced, rather than bemoaned, Park City’s change from mining to today’s recreation mecca. To cap off weeks of positivity, Leadership Park City selected a group of 35 future leaders for its 28th year class, and the Park City Area Lodging Association honored several of the many people who work behind the scenes to bolster our economy at their Black Diamond Awards ceremony.
These events highlight many of the core “values in action” that nourish Park City. Values like “perspective” and “gratitude,” “caring” and “empathy,” which make our town a better place to live.
Having worked for 50 years in some of the most iconic resort communities in the West, I know we are the beneficiaries of the very best America has to offer. And as custodians of this world-class asset it is something we willingly shared when we welcomed the world in 2002. We understood that Park City is a fertile place to regenerate, to reconnect and renew broken spirits. People come to share what we live every day (“Your vacation is our lifestyle”).
It is good to be reminded how this lifestyle was created. Park City began pursuing its dream of becoming a tourism and recreation mecca over 60 years ago. It’s been a long arduous journey from very modest beginnings, and the secret “sauce of our success” is our authentic spirit of welcoming and hospitality.
Hospitality flows from warm greetings, open smiles and the sincere connections we make every day. These gestures are not a one-way street — they also nourish, sustain and enrich each of us. They embody our commitment to inclusion despite the discomforts and burdens involved. Hospitality is not just a “happy face” or as one wag remarked: “Simply making our guests and newcomers feel at home while wishing they were!” When authentically practiced, hospitality is civility on steroids. And it’s this civility that underpins “keeping Park City, Park City.”
So yes, there are burdens and dislocations, apprehensions, fatigue, inconveniences and frustrations. I find myself bemoaning the traffic and congestion, the seemingly endless development and the lack of affordability. These issues cannot be ignored. But fortunately, we are blessed with honest and conscientious local leaders trying to address them using every legal and financial tool at their disposal. They deserve our constant respect, gratitude and support, not the shrill trolling that seems to predominate public discourse.
So as we question and calibrate the benefits and inconveniences of living here, and reassess how our economy works and for whom, we should never turn our backs on the very comity, respect and ingrained “habits of the heart” I experienced these past few weeks. Take a deep breath and try repeating: “If you’re lucky enough to be in Park City, you’re lucky enough.”
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“This town cannot risk destroying this historic treasure by allowing a development that not only does not fit the environment but egregiously out-scales the entire town,” writes Nancy Lazenby.