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Park City Delegation Impressed by Food Bank and More
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Thursday, May 26, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Amir Caus dialed up a photograph of a bone-dry reservoir outside Park City on his smartphone.

“We look at your creeks, your rivers with jealousy,” said the Summit County planner. “The late storms we got—that saved our lives.”

At the same time, he and other Park City officials were flabbergasted to learn that local government entities have drafted little legislation to conserve water in the Wood River Valley.

“We’re drafting a landscaping ordinance now. If you want us to share it with you, we will,” one told Blaine County Commissioner Muffy Davis.

The dinner conversation around the tables at the River Run Lodge this past week included members of a Park City delegation counseling Davis, a new county commissioner, on things like variances and transferable development rights.

She, in turn, entertained them with stories of having competed at the Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City and offered fly-fishing advice to Caus, a Bosnian refugee who wanted to surprise his father with a fly-fishing trip in Utah or Idaho for his birthday.

The Leadership Park City tour brought dozens of Park City government leaders and business people to the Wood River Valley this past week to learn what local officials are doing to address such challenges as affordable housing and parking problems. Similar tours came to Sun Valley in 1988, 1996, 2005 and 2013.

Groups from Park City and Summit County have also visited such Western communities as Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte, Breckinridge, Sedona, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Moab, Taos, Santa Fe, Missoula, McCall, Lake Tahoe, Seattle, Vancouver, Whistler, Las Vegas and Dillon, Mont., over the past 35 years.

This particular group started in Twin Falls and moved on to Boise where they got a walking tour of the  Esther Simplot Center, Anne Frank Center, the new Cherie Buckner-Webb Park and Freak Alley, which was recently spruced up to show of its graffiti.

 Tours in Ketchum included a tour of art galleries in Ketchum, the Warm Springs Preserve, Rotary Park,  Ketchum Skate Park and Sun Valley Resort’s village and residential development.

Plied with cookies from Hangar Bread, tamales from The Hunger Coalition and more, the Park City bunch also toured The Hunger Coalition, the new Blaine Manor affordable housing project, Campion Ice House,   Quigley Farm, Sun Valley Culinary Institute, Ketchum City Hall, The Community Library and the new Ketchum Fire Station

They got to hear from a variety of local leaders, including Sun Valley Economic Development Director Harry Griffith, St. Luke’s Wood River COO/CNO Almita Nunnelee and Blaine County Commissioner Dick Fosbury.

Ketchum City Council Member Courtney Hamilton told how the city will likely revisit a LOT tax for affordable housing next year, perhaps without a sales tax on retail sales.

And Sun Valley Resort’s strategic analyst Tim Silva described how Averell Harriman had built a ski resort in 1936, then decided to invent the first chairlift at Union Pacific Railroad headquarters in Omaha, Neb., over fears most people would not climb the hills to ski. Three months after Sun Valley opened, he said, it was on the cover of Life magazine.

“I know a lot of places struggle with crowds. For us it’s always been the opposite,” he said, as he  described the resort’s ventures with the Mountain Collective, Epic Pass and now the Ikon pass. “This is a property that’s significantly underutilized.”

An array of locals, including a high school teacher, environmental engineer, doctor, Realtor and the chairman of the board for the Liberty Theatre’s Relight the Liberty campaign joined the tourgoers at various times. They discussed how the pandemic has changed communities, the role of economic diversity and tourism and the role of non-profit sectors in meeting community needs

Aldy Milliken, executive director of the Kimball Art Center, was collecting ideas for public art and culture as Park City’s Sundance Film Festival makes a transition from the Robert Redford era.

Many others said they were particularly impressed with The Hunger Coalition’s new Bloom Community Food Center and its attempts to offer a variety of ways people can embrace food security in the valley.

“I was blown away by that,” said John Greenfield, a former Boisean whose father worked for Sen. Frank Church and others. “We have nothing like that. Yours is way more than a glorified food pantry!

Former Idaho State Rep. and Sun Valley Chamber Director Wendy Jaquet helped organize a similar trip for local government and business leaders to Cascade and McCall in April.

“It’s always good to open up hearts and minds,” said Hailey City Administrator Lisa Horowitz. “We went to McCall last month and that was very beneficial for us to learn about what they’re doing.”

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