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Park City Mayor Reflects On 2020 Visioning Process

Park City Municipal Corporation

After seven months of surveys and community engagement sessions, Park City nears the end of its 2020 visioning process. The process has produced some key themes: that residents fear the town will be overtaken by tourism and become “Amusement Park City”; that community members seem to want to “embrace bold change”; and there are concerns around affordability, environmental leadership, tourism, regional collaboration, local economy and transportation.

Park City Mayor Andy Beerman says the process has reaffirmed the city’s priorities and values, but what they’ve learned is people want the city to act with urgency.

“The biggest feedback we got is it's about velocity—they want us to accelerate," Beerman said. "They like where we're going as a local government, but they want us to do more quicker.”

At Thursday’s council retreat, Councilmember Tim Henney said he’s not sure, though, if the town wants bold change or bold action—to not change. Councilmember Max Doilney noted older generations in town seem to want things to stay the same and want the city to take action to do that, but younger residents want the town to change in ways that provide more opportunities for housing, affordability and employment. Beerman says the city wants to protect what makes it special, such as its natural environment and sense of community.

“We don’t necessarily want to change those things, but I think we're going to have to take action, which might require some personal changes and a little bit in changes to how we do things to get us there," Beerman said. "So, it's going to be a mix—to protect what matters most to us, we will have to change how we do things. That doesn't mean we're going to fundamentally change the town.”

Of nearly 1,000 survey respondents, 80% identify as white, while 12% identify as Latinx or Hispanic. Most respondents are between age 40 and 60. Beerman says the results are likely representative of the city’s demographics but not the city’s inclusivity goals. Although the city worked to reach out to Latinx community members, young people and seniors, Beerman says many were missing from the process.

“We will continue to reach out to those groups, but we're a little bit befuddled about how we get more participation," Beerman said. "We've moved the times around; we've tried to make it as accessible as possible. At the end of the day, people have to want to participate, and if they don't, it's left to us to figure out how do we best represent them. I would rather hear that from them than be guessing."

On Friday, the council discussed sustainable tourism and local economy. Going forward, the city will draft a strategic plan based on the results of the visioning process and will present that information to the community at the State of Park City address on March 3.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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