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Despite COVID-19 Speedbump, Park City’s “Vision 2020” Still a Priority

Park City is five months into a 10-year vision for the future of the community called “Park City Vision 2020.” Despite COVID-19 throwing a monkey wrench into 2020, the city will still be driving ahead with their long-term plans.


The timing could not have been much worse. Three months into 2020 and the world turning upside down amid the COVID-19 pandemic is not an ideal time to be launching Park City’s new 10-year vision for the community.


The Park City City Council discussed the possibility of re-prioritizing the vision at their meeting on Tuesday after putting the project on hold in March. The council ultimately decided to go ahead with the plans while still keeping an eye on COVID-19.   


The Park City Vision 2020 process actually began in June of 2019 and is an effort by the city to provide an open, inclusive, and transparent future for Park City.


Approximately 1,700 residents and community stakeholders participated in the 8-month “visioning process”, which included two large online community surveys, engagement sessions, focus groups, and two “Future Summits” where these important issues were discussed.


Park City’s last visioning process took place in 2009 and Vision 2020 looks ahead to 2030 to identify what needs to happen in order to meet the aspirations and demands the city faces now, and will face over the next decade.


The visioning process identified five key areas that need attention over the next 10 years: Transportation innovation, affordability and equity, sustainable tourism, environmental leadership, and arts, culture, and local economy.


Naturally, with a global pandemic greatly affecting daily life in Park City, priorities are bound to change some but Park City Councilmember Max Doilney urged his colleagues to be proactive when looking at the current situation.     


“We’ve talked a couple of times about not continuing to be reactionary, but to be proactive in our behavior,” said Doilney. “I think that, for the most part, I think we’ll land pretty close to where we did in February with that in mind, but if we were reactionary, which seems to be the case these days, I personally, the thing that is highlighted and maybe elevated is the affordability and equity.”


Doilney said given the economic strain put on many local families during the pandemic, issues like the cost of living in the community have been magnified. Councilmember Becca Gerber agreed.


“I do feel like the word ‘resiliency’ is going to be an important word to maybe incorporate into some of our discussions because how we bounce back from COVID and how we move forward with our goals, I think is going to take a lot of resiliency,” she said. “It’s kind of something that you couldn’t even begin to expect when we first started our visioning project, but COVID has definitely changed the discussion and I think is going to change the discussion of the way we move forward a lot for a few years.”


Gerber said housing is another aspect of Park City’s future that cannot be ignored. With the pandemic actually driving up the cost of homes and a record number of home sales recorded so far this year, options are becoming more and more scarce for families in the market for a home but can’t afford to pay a million dollars or more to live in Park City.


Councilmember Steve Joyce told KPCW the city is right to address the current needs of the community but believes re-booting the Vision 2020 initiative is the next step in tackling the big issues on the horizon.


“We’re always doing things, but what we are looking for is the next big steps to take, and quite frankly, the last six months we haven’t been focused on what are the next big steps we should take,” Joyce said. “I think this was step one of getting back to that and getting the community back and engaged and getting our staff and our council back engaged to start thinking that way.”


Joyce said although there is no set plan in place yet to implement all of the Vision 2020 plans, the city will be working to bring them to life as the year progresses. More information on Park City Vision 2020 can be found here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.