Retiring councilmembers Simpson and Peek left an admirable legacy
Much of Park City’s ambiance — from its trails, plazas, library, recreation center and vibrant commercial district to its reliable water service and police protection — is due to a long succession of dedicated elected officials. Retired Park City Council members Liza Simpson and Dick Peek exemplify that tradition.
During their tenures (Simpson served for eight years, Peek served for five) the council faced a number of extraordinarily complex and contentious issues. Nevertheless, they left office with the respect and admiration of their constituents.
Peek, with his extensive background in planning and zoning gained while serving on the Historic District Commission and Planning Commission, provided wise counsel but mostly behind the scenes, always with tact and diplomacy. The public might not be aware of his quiet yet vital role, but his fellow City Council members certainly were.
contrast, Simpson was outspoken. But her strong opinions were always firmly based in fact and the best interests of the community. As an eight-year veteran at City Hall, she helped to mitigate the effects of the recession on the local economy through careful forward planning and judicious budgeting. More recently, Simpson assisted the city in steering a steady course through nerve-wracking battle over the future of Park City Mountain Resort, in which the whole town’s fate seemed to hang in the balance.
Their colleague, Andy Beerman, who won another four years on the City Council and took the oath of office on Monday, was also a vital part of that team, taking on the particularly challenging assignment of representing Park City’s interests in the Wasatch-wide Mountain Accord planning initiative.
All three went over and above the requirements of the job and Park City benefited greatly from their service.
But there is still plenty to do.
Several gnarly issues, some that have plagued elected officials for decades, are still unresolved. The retiring councilors were unable to reach an agreement with the developers of Treasure, on a prominent hillside overlooking Main Street. That project still looms in the future. And the future of the site where the Kimball Art Center operated for more than 30 years is still uncertain.
Also the Mountain Accord debate regarding future uses in the central Wasatch Mountains is not over. The questions about interconnecting the Wasatch Front and Back resorts and roads will inevitably return to the table with even more urgency.
Other ongoing challenges include mounting traffic congestion and dwindling affordable housing. Those assignments, along with finding ways to quell trail use conflicts, preserve the city’s historic character and enticing the next generation to take leadership roles in the community will demand their attention.
Fortunately Beerman and the two new City Council members, Becca Gerber and Nann Worel, are up to the task. All three have the energy and commitment needed to find innovative solutions to past and future issues. But they will be seeking the public’s help as well. Bookmark the City Hall’s website (parkcity.org) and resolve to offer your input in the New Year.
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In the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, PJ Falten has been thinking about the “fallen heroes who gave their lives so that something like last Wednesday could never happen on sacred ground. … What would they have thought?”