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Councilor Steve Joyce reflects on service to Park City, says local politics is “tough to do right now”

Steve Joyce
Joyce will vacate his seat on the Park City Council January 4th.

Park City Councilor Steve Joyce leaves office next month and looked back on almost a decade of service to Park City.

Although Park City Councilor Steve Joyce only served one term on the council before announcing his retirement earlier this year, he also spent five years as a member of the Park City Planning Commission. Joyce served during the lengthy planning commission talks over the proposed development on Treasure Mountain before the city purchased the land in 2019. After that, he was an outspoken voice on the city council during discussions on everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to the proposed arts and culture district.

Joyce told KPCW he chose to bow out now because he was getting worn down. He said politics has taken a stormy turn since he took office in 2018.

“It’s tough to do right now," he said. "I don’t know whether it’s just social media or politics in the country or whatever, but it’s getting kind of angrier. I tell people you need a thick skin to do this, but I think right now you kind of need a thicker skin than you did four years ago. It’s unfortunate.”

Joyce endorsed Mayor-Elect Nann Worel and council newcomers Tana Toly and Jeremy Rubell in November’s municipal election. Worel, Toly, and Rubell will be sworn in to office on January 4th.

Looking back on his time on the council, Joyce said he’s most proud of the city’s progress toward mitigating some of the growth and traffic issues the region has seen in recent years. In addition to being on the council when the Treasure Mountain open space deal was finalized, he also pointed to transit work being done by the city and Summit County.

“The one for me was just kind of the broad set of things that we were doing to try to deal with all the growth," said Joyce. "Everybody feels it right now, you feel the crowds and things, but if you look at kind of what Park City is doing now, plus what the county is doing, plus where the county is headed, it’s really one of these one plus one equals three kind of things. We’re really starting to enable a much bigger transit infrastructure in the area, and by area I mean the whole region.” 

With Park City now a year-round tourism destination that’s grown out of its winter resort roots, he said finding ways to encourage the use of public transit will be crucial to alleviate the city’s ever-increasing road congestion.

“Come in [SR] 248 in the middle of summer when school is out and there’s no skiing, and the traffic is backed up all the way out to [highway] 40,"Joyce said. "So it’s not all skiing, and it’s not all school, and it’s just an influx of 10,000-15,000 workers every day.”

The city is scheduled to break ground on a park-and-ride at Quinns Junction next spring with over 500 parking spaces.

When it comes to things he wished he could do over, he said the communication missteps around the now-abandoned soil repository project near Quinns Junction, and the 2019 rejection of a UDOT proposal to widen SR 248 both stand out.

One thing he does say is moving in the right direction, albeit slowly, is work toward the city’s goal of 800 affordable housing units by 2026.

“I think the goal of 800 was an admirable goal, it was a really aggressive goal, and I just wish we had found ways sooner to make progress faster,” he said.

If all the public and private projects in the pipeline like the affordable housing proposed for the Homestake lot and Film Studio get built, he said he thinks the city could actually come pretty close to meeting that 800 unit goal.

After leaving office in January, Joyce and his wife, Julie, will also be leaving town. He told KPCW the two are selling their Park City home and are moving to Fort Collins, Colorado.

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.