Guest opinion: Why I’m running for a second term as Park City’s mayor
Park City mayor
Dear Park City,
Thank you! It’s been an honor to serve as your mayor and it’s taught me much about this town that raised me. I arrived in 1995 in a VW van with nothing but the promise of a job. I could sense the magic of this place. Locals made it look easy, fun, sexy and irreverent. So began my apprenticeship: I worked, played and I loved where I lived. I built trails, a business, relationships … and increasingly accrued a debt of gratitude to Park City.
Ten years ago, I ran for City Council on a simple platform of open space and trails. Open space was — and remains — the only “silver bullet” in the battle against growth. I was warned “we were priced out,” but since then, we’ve added over 3,000 acres of new open space including Clark Ranch, Stoneridge, Armstrong Pastures, Bonanza Flat and Treasure Hill. These acquisitions created growth boundaries, protected critical landscapes and prevented development. We are fortunate to have protected much of our backyard, our watershed, our wildlife and our favorite places. There’s no magic without the landscapes; and there’s no magic without the people who love the land.
A lot of people have loved these lands —the indigenous peoples who hunted here, the soldiers and miners who prospected here, the tourists who cavorted here and those who live and work here. Each generation has its threats: Ours is the crush of people who want to share our landscape. My background as a hotelier convinced me we can handle more people, but not more cars. That is why I champion a “car-optional” approach to mobility: trails, walkability, electric buses, remote lots, dedicated bus lanes, local traffic only in neighborhoods, and lower speeds to protect people and wildlife.
Our visitors fuel the economy that supports our lifestyle, but no locals, no lifestyle. Our locals need somewhere to live, and market forces are making that increasingly out of reach. Staying in Park City has never been easy and has always required grit. Our “motherlode of magic” is drawing those with the means to stake their claim, edging out those with less. Now more than ever, we gotta stay gritty: This place is not just for those of great means, but also for those whose modest dream is just to stay. To that end, Park City is in the affordable housing business: I’m proud we’ve added 82 new units since 2018 and have many more in the pipeline.
While the recent pandemic forced many of us to work from home, our service workers struggled mightily. COVID further exposed the equity gaps in our community, but Park City has a big heart and our town responded with amazing generosity to assist those in need. Yet there is still much to do and we must continue to address our social vulnerabilities until every resident feels safe, welcome and valued.
The love of place, people and history are nothing without action. You can be proud of the climate work we are doing. Park City is breaking trail on its march to net zero by 2030 (or sooner). Innovation, collaboration and legislative victories are opening a path for other communities to follow. Thinking globally, acting locally, is how we lead.
As I look back at my time serving this community, I realize that Park City continues to give me more than I’ve given back. I love where I live, and I want all of you — each and every resident — to feel that way. But love is more than a feeling, it’s a commitment, something which takes constant work. I have the energy, enthusiasm and drive to continue the work to protect and strengthen our community. Park City has big challenges and bold aspirations. I offer my help to reach more of our goals, and to bring our ideals closer to our reality. I have decided to run for reelection, and should I be given another term, I’m ready to lead with passion, determination and love!
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Summit County made no promises to the developer of the Tech Center property, which is proposing a large mixed-use project in Kimball Junction, writes Mike Washington. “The only remaining obligation of the county is to process development requests ‘under the terms of the agreement.’”