In final KPCW interview as Mayor, Andy Beerman reflects on 10 years of service to Park City
Beerman says he’s most proud of the city’s progress on open space and climate change during his time in office.
Before taking office as Mayor of Park City in 2018, Andy Beerman served for six years as a Park City Councilor, and before that as leader of the Historic Park City Alliance and owner of Main Street’s Treasure Mountain Inn with his wife, Thea Leonard.
Looking back, he says he’s most proud of the city’s progress on open space and climate change during his time in office. In particular, he points toward the city increasing its open space by over 3,300 acres through purchases like Bonanza Flat and Treasure Mountain, and pursuing “proof of concept” approaches to climate policy like an electric bus fleet and zero-waste goals.
Beerman first came to Park City in the early 1990s and says the tremendous growth the city has experienced over the past 30 years has been a bit of a double-edged sword. He says everything that has been done to make Park City a better place to live has also attracted more and more people, making things like traffic worse and the cost of living considerably more expensive.
“I think many of us that have been here a long time have a lot of nostalgia, but I also remember the day when you had to find a widget when you were fixing a closet in your house, you had to drive to Salt Lake to Home Depot," Beerman says. "With the bad and the change, a lot of good has come to the town. It’s become much more livable on a year-round basis, and much better amenities. For me, I think it’s just finding a better balance between our economy and our locals at this point. We have focused on our economy for so long, and it’s been so successful, we need to figure out how to turn that money we make and put that back into investing in our locals and our workforce and keeping Park City authentic.”
Beerman’s term as mayor was defined in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although he says he doesn’t necessarily have regrets, there were things he would have done differently, if given the chance.
“I was a little disappointed how we came out of COVID," he says. "I think we misread that in terms of we went into COVID coming out of Vision 2020, and felt like the public wanted us to be really ambitious on projects and housing and arts and culture and that. If I could go back and speak to myself about two years ago, I'd say ‘as you come out of the pandemic, just slow things down for a while, let everybody get oriented, let this community get back on its feet, and then start moving those projects forward.’”
In addition to the now on-hold arts and culture district and soil repository projects, Beerman’s administration also saw plans for a new senior center grind to a halt over the last two years. Beerman also came under fire for a temporary “Black Lives Matter” mural that appeared on Main Street on Fourth of July 2020 that took many in the community by surprise.
The challenge for the city going forward, he says, will be striking a balance between record-setting economic growth and livability.
On a personal note, Beerman says he and his wife are going to take some time to travel before re-engaging with the community in the future.
“I just want to thank everybody for their trust and the opportunity to serve as the town’s mayor and on council," says Beerman. "Certainly after many years of living here and being a businessperson, it taught me a lot about my town that I didn’t understand otherwise. I know it’s been a rough couple of years – it’s Christmas time, it’s rough out there – I was driving in the traffic and getting cut off. It’s hard on us locals, but I think at the end of the day, we need to remember that living here, we live other people’s vacations, and that comes with some inconveniences, which is the tourism and the hustle and bustle, but at the end of the day, if you love where you live and you love your neighbors, it’s all gonna work out.”
Beerman still has the title of Mayor and all the responsibilities that go along with it until current Councilor and Mayor-Elect Nann Worel is sworn in on January 4th.
Listen to Beerman’s full interview here.