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Park City-area Olympic input: Games ‘will only benefit those in a certain wealth bracket’ or ‘Let’s do it’

Article by Jay Hamburger for the Park Record (February 3, 2023)

Some in the greater Park City area see a second Winter Olympics in the state as an event that could bring transportation improvements and upgrades to the mountain resorts.

But the opinions collected during a series of gatherings in 2022 centered on the Games efforts illustrate there are also worries about the long-term impact another Olympics could have on Park City.

Mountain Mediation Center, which City Hall and the County Courthouse last year tapped to conduct what were dubbed community conversations, compiled the written comments and submitted them to the government leaders as part of a wider report centered on the work in 2022.

The written comments offer an intriguing look into the thinking of the people from Park City and surrounding Summit County as they dwelled on the prospects of a second Games. The comments provide more evidence of the splintering of the Park City area as the populace considers a Games, with supporters seeing benefits and critics worried an Olympics would erode the community.

It appears there is the possibility of hosting a Games in 2030 or 2034. It is not clear when the International Olympic Committee will select the locations for those two years, but Salt Lake City is seen as a top contender for one of them. The Park City area would play a major role in a second Games, as was the case during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and leaders in Park City and Summit County have started to engage the community in discussions.

The written comments cover a range of issues, likely foreshadowing a broad community discussion as Park City and Summit County leaders, as well as the Olympic bidders, press ahead. The comments also seem to signal the talks about the Olympics in the Park City area will encompass issues like growth that are not necessarily within the scope of the organization of a Games.

The Mountain Mediation Center released the comments without names attached but with ZIP codes identified. The comments were made in response to a question asking about what someone wanted to most communicate to City Hall and the County Courthouse about a future Olympics.

Some of the comments included:

• “Use the pressure of hosting the Olympics (looking good internationally) on state and national elected leaders to push projects that will benefit locals long after the games. Examples such as improvements to infrastructure, transportation, housing and changing antiquated state laws regarding women/minority representation,” written by someone in the 84036 ZIP code.

• “I do not believe the modern weather will be able to continue to support our current winter sport industry let alone an Olympic event,” written by someone in the 84096 ZIP code.

• “Please don’t let the lower income, housing insecure populations suffer. In fact, it would be great to see everyone have a chance to experience the Olympics in some way. All those that help us deal with the impacts of a quick and large influx of guests,” written by someone in the 84060 ZIP code.

• “Having the Olympics here will only benefit those in a certain wealth bracket. All of our local issues will be magnified (housing issues, transportation struggles, finding enough workers, water shortages). The impact that the 2002 Olympics had on our growth in turn greatly affected our environment negatively. Not sure we could handle the aftermath of a 2nd one . . . ,” written by someone in the 84098 ZIP code.

• “Let’s do it. It was a marvelous experience in 2002. We can figure out how,” written by someone in the 84098 ZIP code.

• “Regardless of all the financial benefits, burdens, issues and challenges associated with hosting the Olympic Games, they provide a unique, once in a lifetime experience for the youth and the population as a whole of our community for the ones who are willing to participate and keep an open mind about this opportunity. There are only a few communities which are given the chance to experience this event,” written by someone in the 84060 ZIP code.

• “Today’s problems are tomorrows Olympic problems,” written by someone in the 84060 ZIP code.

• “That it’s not fair or right to have all the same people involved in the first Utah Olympics who grew their own personal wealth and brands off the Games be the ones championing a current bid and essentially forcing even bigger versions of the same unintended consequences down our throats because it seems like the fun and Park City thing to do. The idea of a green Olympics is a fallacy. So too is the notion that businesses need the boost in 2022. If these same ski and Olympics cheerleaders can’t ideate or advocate for policy that would result in a future games leaving Summit County better off than it is right now, then we really don’t need a future games. Or at least we don’t need a raucous party or Olympic village or more artificial increases to housing prices in Park City,” written by someone in the 84060 ZIP code.

• “It’s an opportunity to unify, at a time where there’s so much division,” written by someone in the 84098 ZIP code.

• “Our most vulnerable citizens can never experience the joy of the Olympic events. In addition, they will be evicted from their homes during the Olympics,” written by someone in the 84098 ZIP code.

• “(Don’t) forget about locals, especially our underserved communities. Low income families should not be put at risk — either with shelter, food, or any other resource. It is imperative to prioritize our community,” written by someone in the 84060 ZIP code.

Click here to read this article on the Park Record website

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Sue Banerjee

Sue is the Executive Director of PC Tots, a non-profit early education and childcare provider serving the residents and workforce of Summit County. She provides strategic and operational leadership for the execution and expansion of PC Tots’s mission of providing equitable access to high-quality care. She holds a juris doctorate from George Washington University and has worked for large law firms on employment, civil rights and corporate matters. She has served as Vice President of Client Development at eBrevia, in which role she assisted in raising funds from venture capitalist and angel investors, as well as interfacing with clients on their contract review needs.

After moving to Park City, Sue became involved in organizations that allowed her to do good work in the community. She has been an active volunteer for the Park City Education Foundation, serving as the Parleys Park ambassador, and as a Grant’s Committee member of the Women’s Giving Fund. Most recently, Sue worked in the community as a substitute teacher in the Park City School District, where she saw firsthand the benefits of quality early education.

Moe Hickey - Treasurer

Moe Hickey is the Executive Director of Voices for Utah Children. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Managing Director of the Park City Institute. From 2008-2015 he served as the president of the Park City Board of Education, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Park City Education Foundation.

A native New Yorker, he began his professional life in the global financial markets. He worked both domestically and internationally for twenty years. He completed his career as a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, where he was the Managing Director of Global Emerging Markets. 

He is a graduate of Wagner College, where he received a BS in Economics. He currently resides in Park City, Utah with his wife and two children. He enjoys outdoor activities, cooking and travelling.

Kris Campbell – Program Director

Kris is the Program Director for Mountain Mediation Center, overseeing MMC’s programs, fundraiser, and rapidly expanding training program, and coordinating our dedicated volunteers. He is passionate about bringing people together to work through conflicts productively. Kris began his work with MMC as a volunteer in 2020, facilitating Community Conversations and leading training sessions to build understanding, connection, and community along the Wasatch Back. In 2023, Kris served as MMC’s Board Chair. 

When he’s not at work, Kris often spends time with his kids, serving the community through Rotary, Braver Angels, and the Park City LGBTQ+ Taskforce, or exploring area trails.

Valeria Jimenez – Case Manager & Outreach Coordinator

Valeria is the Outreach & Program Coordinator for Mountain Mediation Center, administering the landlord-tenant eviction diversion program in partnership with local organizations to help prevent and resolve landlord-tenant disputes. She specializes in public outreach, collaborating with agencies and community partners, and connecting communities to resources.

During her time at the Utah State Courts, she managed statewide community outreach initiatives, education of court programs to the public, and was chosen as a recipient of the Excellence in Advancing Justice award. Beyond her professional capacity, Valeria volunteers with We Rise First-Generation Scholars, a program of the Wasatch Education Foundation. Valeria is passionate about bringing young Latino leaders together and building community in the professional, academic, and civic space. She has plans to continue her education by earning a J.D. in the near future.

Nicole Wozniak – Communications Coordinator

Nicole is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She has both worked for and volunteered with a multitude of nonprofits in Park City including KPCW, the Christian Center, and now Mountain Mediation Center.

Nicole coordinates MMC’s Community Conversations series – organizing volunteers, sourcing local partners & venues, and creating/implementing the marketing for the events. She also designs MMC’s marketing and outreach materials.

Beth Holzman - Board Co-Chair

Beth is a consultant to corporations, nonprofits, and governments on the topics of corporate responsibility, human rights & supply chain management, and social impact. Over the last 20 years, Beth has worked with over 50 organizations creating strategic plans; devising data-driven analysis for sustainability initiatives; and facilitating multi-stakeholder engagements to create improved transparency, trust and communication.

In Park City, Beth has served on the Advisory Committee of the first Mountain Towns 2030 Summit, supported grantees of the Park City Community Foundation during COVID-19, volunteered with Voterise and the League of Women Voters, and is a ski instructor for the Local Women’s Program at PCMR/ Canyons. She holds degrees in Sociology and Peace & Justice Studies from Tufts University.

Dr. Claustina Reynolds - Board Co-Chair

Claustina Reynolds serves as Principal in the Murray School District. Claustina came from the Salt Lake City School District, where she served as Educational Equity Supervisor. Reynolds also has experience as a teacher, coach, middle school administrator, higher education instructor, and staff developer. She has completed a doctorate degree from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah.

Joana Acevedo - Secretary

Joana graduated from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in 2020 with a degree in marketing. After graduating, she worked as a college access advisor for the Utah College Advising Corps, helping first generation college students at Granger High School navigate the college admission and financial aid process. In 2021, she became the Outreach/Program Coordinator for Mountain Mediation Center. Joana is currently employed by the Park City School District as the College Program Manager for the Bright Futures Program.

Maddy Shear

Maddy retired in 2023 after 15 years of doing work she was passionate about. Maddy was a nonprofit consultant, facilitating strategic planning, board/staff retreats, and acting as a strategic thinking partner for many nonprofit organizations in our community. 

Earlier in her career, Maddy worked for twelve years for Hasbro Inc., the largest toy company in the world. Retiring as Vice President of Marketing for the Parker Brothers Board Games division, she had fun times with new games and classics Monopoly, Clue, Sorry and Boggle!

More recently, Maddy has enjoyed serving as board chair for two local organizations, including the Summit County Library. She is an avid reader and library lover. With Maddy and Jon’s 2023 double retirement, they are enjoying road-tripping and hiking all over the country and spending time with family. Maddy and Jon have two adult daughters, one living in SLC the other in Tucson.

Anne Cameron

Anne has practiced family law in Park City and the surrounding communities since 2007 and is a member of the Utah Court’s Domestic Mediation roster. Anne’s practice is now limited to mediation. Anne was first trained in Collaborative Family Law and Mediation in 2008 and has continued her education and commitment to alternative dispute resolution as a student and speaker in conferences in Utah and around the Country. In her mediation practice, Anne has devoted her energy to facilitating sustainable solutions for families in conflict. Anne is excited to make domestic mediation accessible to underrepresented groups and populations to provide access to justice and mediation through Utah Dispute Resolution and the Mountain Mediation Center.

Anne is the past Chairperson for the Utah Association of Collaborative Professionals, is a former board member of the Park City Bar Association, she currently belongs to the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution, and is a member of the Utah Judicial Council’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee.

Jill Sheinberg

Jill is an attorney, mediator and lifelong advocate of equality, peace and justice. She is a founding member of the Park City Women’s Giving Fund and the Utah Women’s Giving Circle and a member, of the Utah Women’s Forum. A native New Yorker, Jill graduated from the University of Michigan (BA) and the New School for Social Research (MA in Sociology). After receiving her law degree, she worked in the fields of employment law and not-for-profit representation. She also facilitated community mediations for several years in Brooklyn before moving to Park City in 1995.

In Utah, Jill has worked at KUED television station and various film companies as a community connections organizer, taught at Westminster College (Masters Leadership program) and is currently a Master Mediator on the state court roster, specializing in family and employment issues.

Jill is currently a board member of the Haitian Orchestra Institute and Park City Film. She has previously served on the boards of Adopt-a-Native-Elder, Planned Parenthood of Utah, ACLU of Utah, National ACLU, Salt Lake Acting Company, and is a founding member of HEAL Utah.

Evie Brinkerhoff

Evie Brinkerhoff is a trained attorney and mediator. She currently works for the Utah Courts as a child welfare mediator. She previously worked at Utah Dispute Resolution as a mediator and office director for northern Utah. She has worked extensively in schools, developing and implementing restorative justice and mediation programs for schools. She has also conducted numerous high conflict divorce cases and has worked extensively with the immigrant and refugee population of Utah.

Miriam Nieto

Miriam is the Director of Education with Holy Cross Ministries. She started working for Holy Cross Ministries in 2007 as part of the After School Program team and has a passion for working in early childhood education. She was instrumental in developing the preschool project now known as the School Readiness Program and the Parents as Teachers Program. 

She was born and raised in Mexico City and graduated in 2005 with a degree in Early Childhood Education from the National University of Mexico.

Deborah McGraw

Deborah is a court-qualified rostered mediator with the Utah Courts. She is currently an Advisor to the Board for Mountain Mediation Center. Her mediation experience includes private and group mediation, divorce and domestic mediation, and facilitated conversations and conferencing. She is a Master Facilitator and an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University, Center for Professional and Continuing Education. She has an extensive restorative background, which also includes work and practice in Circles, meditation and self-empowerment techniques for the past 30 years. She graduated from University of Denver.

Sam Mekrut

Sam Mekrut (she/her) is a Master Mediator, Certified Eldercaring Coordinator and experienced facilitator. After working as a Child Welfare Mediator for Utah’s Administrative Office of the Courts for 8 years, Sam founded TalkWorks, a private conflict resolution practice offering mediation, facilitation, restorative conferencing, training and conflict coaching. She takes a compassionate and practical approach to resolving conflicts and strongly believes in the transformative power that comes from ensuring individuals’ perspectives are heard, and their needs acknowledged.

Prior to becoming a mediator, Sam worked for many years in social justice nonprofits, building coalitions and developing strategic grassroots campaigns to advance state/national public policy on a host of issues including access to affordable health care, environmental quality, education, and campaign finance reform.

Christine Coleman

Christine Coleman (she/her) is a senior marketing professional with 20+ years of experience working with nonprofit organizations and foundations. As Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Park City Community Foundation, she focuses on all areas of the marketing mix including, branding, content management, digital marketing, and public relations. Prior to Park City Community Foundation, she was Director of Marketing for Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco where she led campaigns to increase donor engagement and program marketing targeted to 80,000 clients annually.

Christine grew up in Park City, and after living in the Bay Area for many years, moved back to her beloved hometown in 2018. She holds a B.A. from University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Organizational Development from California Institute of Integral Studies. Christine is passionate about developing teams and talent and advancing equity and belonging. She enjoys skiing, camping, scuba diving, and hiking with her family and dog.

Gretchen Lee – Executive Director

Gretchen is an attorney and a court-qualified mediator with the Utah Courts. She has an extensive government relations background- having worked as an attorney for the Utah State Legislature as well as the private and nonprofit sectors drafting resolutions, initiatives and other policy documents. Gretchen serves on the Board of Trustees for the Utah Council of Conflict Resolution and is a member of the Restorative Justice Collaborative of Utah. She graduated from Colgate University and Emory School of Law.