Record editorial: Visit from Vail Resorts CEO is chance for Parkites to broach critical topics
Monday evening is shaping up to be epic.
Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, is slated to speak at a community event put on by the Leadership Park City program. It will be a rare public appearance in town by Katz, one of the most important figures in the ski industry and whose company holds significant influence in shaping Park City. Even more rare will be the chance for Parkites to interact with him during a question-and-answer session.
It’s an opportunity residents should make the most of by pressing Katz on issues critical to our town.
It would be enlightening, for instance, to hear Katz’ opinion about whether a recent minimum wage hike to $12.25 at Park City Mountain Resort is adequate as the cost of living continues to rise, pricing out workers vital to both the local economy and the concept of a vibrant, diverse community.
Parkites should also push him to weigh in on the related issue of affordable housing. Each winter, Park City’s ski resorts bring in hundreds of seasonal employees, and many are left scrambling to find a place to stay in the area’s ultra-competitive and thinning long-term rental market. Tales of workers living in substandard conditions are common, and advocates have rightly called on the resorts to do more to provide housing for the people they rely on to keep the lifts turning.
The future of the PCMR base area is another topic worth broaching. Vail Resorts has taken early steps toward planning a major project on what is currently the PCMR parking lots, where the company holds overall development rights dating back to the 1990s. Residents should probe what specific steps the company will take to ensure the project aligns with the community’s vision and ideals.
Prior to the question-and-answer session, Katz will deliver prepared remarks, then speak about leadership during a discussion with Myles Rademan, who helms the Leadership Park City program. Doubtless, as the head of a company as successful as Vail Resorts, Katz has plenty of intriguing things to say on the topic.
But few entities in Park City have the kind of power that Vail Resorts, and by extension Katz, wields. In contrast to the community’s relationship with someone like an elected official, though, there are few opportunities to confront him on matters urgent to the state of our city.
The occasion on Monday to do so is meaningful. And it’s not one Parkites should take lightly.
Katz is scheduled to speak at Leadership Park City’s Community Leadership Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday in the Park City Library’s Santy Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
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