Utah trip shines light on mountain town operations
Ryan Summerlin April 14, 2014
Officials from several key Lake Tahoe agencies embarked on a trip to Park City, Utah, last week to catch a glimpse at how another mountain town operates and manages its major challenges.
For about three days, participants had the chance to explore several facets of the city, including public transportation, parking issues, a variety of community- and tourism-based projects.
“Park city was selected as a mountain destination with a lot of similarities to our own to basically go meet leaders and share their best practices,” said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, “and to look at some of the projects they had done on behalf of the community and on behalf of tourism and see if there were any things we could learn from them and bring back.”
TahoeChamber, in partnership with the North Lake Tahoe Chamber, spearheaded this year’s Trek to Park City, which took place April 2-5. Chaplin estimated about 20 people from the Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas went on the trip.
Among the attendees were: Brooke Laine, mayor pro tem of City of South Lake Tahoe; Betty “B” Gorman, president and CEO of TahoeChamber; Norma Santiago, a supervisor for El Dorado County; and Lisa Granahan, economic vitality manager for Douglas County.
Vail Resorts and Barton Health also were represented on the trek.
The first day of activities began April 3. After an overview of the destination in the morning, the group set out for a tour of the downtown district, which has been revitalized since the days of the mining era into a “very charming, pedestrian-friendly and vibrant area,” Chaplin said.
Other activities during the next 48 hours included riding on the city’s public transit, meeting with city leaders and discussing how to elevate health and wellness and the performing arts in Tahoe.
Participants also visited the Utah Olympic Park, Eccles Center, USSA Center of Excellence and more.
Julie Regan, external affairs chief for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said the trip wasn’t her first to the area, but it was nonetheless inspiring.
“What inspired me about park city was just their overwhelming sense of community pride,” she said. “It was a very positive experience.”
Regan acknowledges that Park City and Lake Tahoe are two different places, each with their own challenges, but “even if you can incorporate a couple of really good ideas, its worth going,” she said.
Chaplin said one of the biggest takeaways of the trip for her was the chance to build new relationships with key Park City figures — ones that could provide valuable insight as Tahoe plans its future.
“I think the meaning of this is really about how a community creates a vision, gets the rest of the community to buy into it and maintain that focus long enough to achieve it,” she said.