Record editorial: Holidays are time for reflection about our community |

Record editorial: Holidays are time for reflection about our community

The Christmas bells are ringing in Park City, marking the start of the winter tourism season.

Over the next few months, Parkites will play the role of gracious host, sharing their town with visitors, both new and old, who have come to ski our world-class mountains and experience firsthand the hospitality on which we’ve built our reputation.

Despite the looming certainty of frequent traffic jams and crowded slopes, it is an exciting time. We relish the opportunity to show off our town. And for those of us who call Park City home, the busy holidays are a chance to reflect on the kind of place our guests will find when they arrive.

Parkites are proud to say visitors will quickly come to learn that, first and foremost, we are a community that values diversity and understands that differences are to be celebrated, rather than feared. We choose to see the best in our neighbors and seek to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. And we recognize that we must continue to work at it for that ideal to be a reality.

Visitors will also discover that we take pride in being good stewards of the environment. Our local governments, as well as many of the businesses that operate here, have taken ambitious, tangible steps toward decreasing our collective carbon footprint. We want to make sure the Greatest Snow on Earth will be waiting for guests for decades to come.

But our town is not without warts, and by opening our arms to people from all over the world, we are inviting visitors to see them.

Perhaps most pressing is the housing crisis that disproportionately afflicts the very workers who drive our tourism industry. Far too many of the lifties, bartenders and hotel staffers who make vacations special for visitors struggle to make a home in Park City amid skyrocketing housing costs. We owe them a debt of gratitude and should commit to repaying them by working toward solutions.

Likewise, Parkites have a responsibility to preserve the unique atmosphere of our town amid the growing presence of corporate interests, visible from Kimball Junction to Main Street. It is the unique flavor of Park City that for decades has enticed people to visit — and return to — our town. Keeping it funky and vibrant is the only way to ensure future generations of guests discover what’s special about the place we call home.

Hopefully they will, for years to come, find a community that, while changing, is just as exceptional and welcoming as it is today.

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