Summit County, Utah meets Summit County, Colorado
Hey, Summit County, I’d like you to meet … Summit County.
A group of 75 elected officials, government staff, business leaders and other interested residents from Park City and Summit County, Utah visited Breckenridge and Summit County, Colorado on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 10-11, to learn, network and bond.
The group, which traveled more than 400 miles by bus on Wednesday, was organized by Myles Rademan, who spent 25 years working for Park City and was information director for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
He started his annual city tours while living in Crested Butte 43 years ago and has been coordinating them for Park City residents for the last 29 years.
“I always felt that it was invaluable, especially in resort towns, which are kind of little bubbles,” he said.
The connection helps people in the visited and visiting communities realize that they may not have the best solutions or all the answers and that they are not alone in their challenges, he said. More than 100 people wanted to join the trip, and he had to turn some away.
The last time he brought a Park City group to Breckenridge was 20 years ago or more, and interest in Breckenridge and the Colorado High Country spiked after Vail Resorts purchase of Park City was finalized last year.
“That’s one of the main reasons we’re here,” he said.
Breckenidge Mayor John Warner spoke to the group about the town’s recent agreement with Vail Resorts over a lift-ticket tax ballot question to fund parking and transit improvements.
“We have issues like that, too,” Rademan said, noting the dynamic between a billion-dollar corporation and a small town. “We’re all facing similar problems.”
The two towns have much in common. Park City is larger than Breckenridge, but Breckenridge receives more skier days. Park City also has a national historic district, Rademan said.
Besides historic preservation, parking and transit, the group heard from Breckenridge town staff about open space and trails, housing and childcare and economic development and marketing. Thursday stops included Breckenridge Town Hall, Cucumber Gulch, the town’s new arts district and library and an affordable housing project.
On Friday, Vail Resorts leaders, including CEO Rob Katz, spoke to the group at Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort. Then the group visited Eagle County on Saturday before driving home and participating in a two-hour debriefing Sunday.
“To me, it’s all about the relationships,” Rademan said.
The Park City group always bonds during the annual trip. Plus, with 75 people energized with new ideas, they are taken much more seriously when they return than if only a few people had attended a conference, he said.
Rademan said he’s surprised with how few communities do similar tours, but Breckenridge folks have visited Park City over the years.
Peter Grosshuesch, community development director for the town of Breckenridge, said the Colorado people participating glean value from the visit as well.
“These things are usually pretty good for both communities,” he said. “There’s a good exchange of ideas, and there’s a lot of one-on-one contacts.”
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