A mini-controversy's brewing in Utah. The Deseret News has been getting letters and calls from people who are miffed at Park City for not showing more Utah pride.
It breaks down like this: Park City wanted to attract high-powered tourists. They wanted to court people who may shy away from a conservative state with a low tolerance for people with a high tolerance for the good life. So, Park City began to bill itself as Park City, Colorado.And that's left many Utahns out and out outraged.
Most of the angry folks sound like dyed-in-the-wool pioneer stock to me; people with a traditional work ethic, large family group sheet and a sense that only A & W's should have a two-drink minimum.
I, for one, find their anger puzzling.
You'd think they'd want to sell trendy Park City off quicker than the French sold Louisiana; or at least trade it to Colorado for a nice, homey little town like Greeley. Give us Greeley, we'll give you Park City, and maybe throw in Lark.
Part of the problem, of course, is there are two types of towns in Utah. Towns that Brigham Young settled, towns that he didn't. Since the man had an aversion to mining, most mining bergs (Price, Park City, Ophir, etc.) were settled by other groups. And though you won't get anyone on Capitol Hill to say so, those "non-Brigham towns" have been traditionally seen as the black sheep of the Utah family.
Park City qualifies.
Take liquor, for instance. Liquor stores in Park City have sold more than $3 million in booze over the past 12 months. Bountiful's store did about half that. And when you parcel out liquor consumption compared to the "permanent population," well, I'm not going to tell you how many gallons of hootch every man, woman and child in Park City consumed; I don't want you to get a mental image of tipsy babies toddling around.
The stats show that Park City's actually more Colorado than Colorado Springs.
In Utah, a state known for large families, Park City had the "lowest fertility ratio" of any town in the last census (that's the fewest pre-school kids per woman); and Park City has the smallest household size.
Colorado through and through.
Other numbers: Utah's uneasy economy is reflected in towns like Hilldale ($1,746 per capita income), but bad times haven't hit Park City. The place has the highest income level in the state. All those men, women and children I mentioned bring home $16,858 a year (Utah averages $8,538). Park City's even thousands of dollars ahead of other ski towns.
There's more, of course, but I've probably beat this horse enough.
The point is: If Park City wants to call itself Park City, Colorado, it has the facts to back up the claim.
Besides, we true-blue Utahns ought be grateful.
They might have called themselves Park City, California.