Last week, about 70 people on the annual Park City City Tour visited Bozeman and Livingston, Montana and Jackson Hole Wyoming to learn from the problems, and solutions of other communities.
Three members of the Park City Leadership Class 24 visited KPCW on Monday and shared some of their reflections.
On Monday, we talked to three class members—Sam Mueller, a Philanthropy Coordinator with the Park City Community Foundation; Tina Pignatelli, a Labor and Employment Counsel; and Enrique Sanchez, a student at Salt Lake Community College and associate with Bright Futures PC.
Pignatelli said they appreciated the chance to get acquainted with Park City and Summit County Council Members, while learning about the similar problems in other cities.
Mueller said one good take-away was Bozeman’s response to their homeless population.
“One thing that Tina and I were talking about as we walked in was Bozeman created a warming shelter for their homeless population. It was just that from when the snow starts to fall until the snow stops falling from 7:00 pm until 7:00 am a place to stay warm.” Mueller continued, “No other services but keeping yourself warm. That was a response to some deaths that they had in their community but was something that we all thought was a cool idea as we start to see a little bit of that more and more in our community.”
Pignatelli said that’s one of the programs conducted by the Human Resources Defense Council in Bozeman.
“That was a really interesting agency because I think in our community our non-profits take on a lot of that work as opposed to the city government.” Pignatelli explained, “It was very interesting all the work they’re doing, not just with the homeless but with senior citizens. That’s something that I’m not as in touch with in Park City as to what we’re doing to help our senior population. They also run the bus service.”
Sanchez said another interesting topic for the group was the challenging tax structure in Montana.
“Montana doesn’t have a sales tax and so the services that the city was able to provide was so much less than what our city was able to provide.” Sanchez said, “I think that we just take those for granted and our tourists as well as our second homeowners. Because of the taxes that they pay, giving us those extra little things that we have such as the MARC or other services that we take for granted.”
In Jackson Hole, he said, the town has forged solutions for worker and affordable housing.
“They have employee housing as well as affordable housing for families.” Sanchez continued, “I think that’s something huge here because we had some members of our community that joined us on this trip who don’t have a family but also need affordable housing and work in our community. I think that was a huge thing that Jackson Hole does is that they provide both housing for employees as well as families.”
Mueller and Pignatelli also said an attraction in Jackson was called the Vertical Harvest.
“We chose one of the other tours but when we had some free time I made sure to take a group of other folks that hadn’t seen it at least by the building because I had heard of it. It’s really cool” Mueller explained, “The city had about 20 feet out from their parking garage available that they were trying to figure out what to do with. This company came in with this idea of a vertical garden a vertical kind of greenhouse system. It’s on all sorts of crazy pulley and elevators and the plants are rotating so there’s an equal amount of sunlight. It’s all hydroponic.”
“It’s also connected to their parking structure like a China bridge.” Pignatelli said, “That was a really great use of space I thought. A neat way to not just use the space but to beautify the space.”