Annual City Tour visits Colorado, brings back new ideas for Park City
Park City’s City Tour for 2023 has returned from a five-day visit to the Colorado communities of Fort Collins and Estes Park. Here's what they learned.
The 60 visitors in the tour group included civic and business leaders from Park City and Summit County, plus the members of this year’s Leadership Class, led by tour organizers Myles Rademan and Paige Galvin.
Fort Collins has a population of nearly 170,000. Its economy and social life center on Colorado State University, which was founded as an agricultural school 150 years ago. But beer-making has been a growing industry in recent decades, and 23 breweries are now located in town. One local summed up Fort Collins’ appeal as “bikes, beer and bands.”
During the traditional de-briefing that concludes the trip, tour members discussed Fort Collins’ Old Town Square, a gathering spot for families, outdoor music, water features and sculptures.They mentioned the alleyways, enhanced with murals, as a take-away idea.
Some tour members commented that the Square, located a few blocks away from the CSU campus, is a community center, where Park City’s Main Street is more of a draw for tourists.
The tour group mentioned the effective collaboration between the city, surrounding Larimer County and the state on several issues, including pursuing government money to expand broadband coverage for rural areas.
They also discussed the prevalence of female leadership. Fort Collins Mayor Jeni Arndt is the latest in a series of female chief executives in the town.
Estes Park is a mountain resort town of about 5,900 people and has been incorporated since 1917. It’s known for the elk herd that loiters in city limits, and the heavy visitor traffic drawn for special events—such as a world-class rodeo, and a festival called Frozen Dead Guy Days, named for a Boulder-area resident who was cryogenically frozen after his death in 1989.
The town and surrounding valley, however, have only a few road accesses. The entire town was evacuated during the Cameron Peak fire in 2020.
The town is perhaps best-known as the entryway to Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the most-visited parks in the nation. City Tour visitors heard that in recent years, the Forest Service has attempted to relieve their traffic jams with a “timed entry” system. During the park’s busy season, visitors can go online and reserve a time, a window of a couple of hours, when their vehicle can enter the park.
During City Tour’s debriefing, Parkites suggested a similar system could be used to relieve the congestion around our ski resorts, or Park City/Snyderville’s trail system.
The group was also interested in Estes Park’s Giving Guest program. A local business that signs up would encourage shoppers to “round up” their purchase at the point of sale, donating a dollar or a greater amount. The donations will be distributed later to local non-profits.
City Tour is a program Rademan has conducted in Park City for 35 years, taking locals to other Western locales to learn about common problems, possible solutions and new ideas.