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Does Utah Need to Become “Weird” Again to Save Itself?

We were reading in the New York Times about Utah bringing back firing squads and it got us to thinking…. Everyone attributes the 2002 Olympics to the start of Utah’s growth. The experts say that the Olympics showed the world what Salt Lake City and Park City had to offer. Once they witnessed it, they had to come here and see the beauty for themselves… then they never left. Extrapolate that sentiment forward to 2040 and Park City will grow from a town of 7,000 to over 7 million, with Hong Kong Style high-rises as far as the eye can see (ok, that may be a bit of a stretch — except in bonanza park).

Yet, what if it wasn’t the Olympics that really changed things? What if it was the changes, that accompanied the Olympics, that drove growth. We’re sure you remember a time when you had to find a “sponsor” to enter a bar. Have you been around long enough to have brought your blender to your local, in order to have a frozen margarita? Ever sucked down a beer because your waitress couldn’t leave your next beer until you finished the first? We specifically remember a time seeing two young tourists taking a picture of a Utah State Liquor Store because it was so weird to them.

A lot of that is gone.

Utah used to be weird and the weird used to keep people away. Since 2002, Utah has become a lot like every other place in the US. We even have a distillery on Main Street. Now we are forced to account for traffic. We have the biggest ski resort in the US being sewn together in front of our eyes. Frankly, we have problems that we never knew existed.

What’s the solution?

Well, your average politician will tell you that we need plans to confront the growth. As Chris Robinson, Summit County Council Member, said on KPCW radio this morning, “growth is coming whether we want it or not.” We believe that most people in our parts would prefer no growth. Yet, we are told that it’s inevitable.

We don’t think so. All we need to do is return to our roots:

  • Require bar memberships and sponsors again.
  • Allow only half bottles of wine to be sold (375 ML).
  • Allow only beer less than 3.2% to be sold in Supermarkets (yes, that would leave only Guinness being sold).
  • Make people mix their own drinks at bars.

Unlike the LDS Church, we aren’t trying to save your soul. We are trying to save your lifestyle. The more “solutions” we see to the problem of growth, the more we realize there is no solution to growth. The only choice is not to grow. Stopping growth requires something out of the ordinary…something weird… something like firing squads and bad liquor laws.

Occasionally you’ll see a bumper sticker around town that says, “Keep Park City Silly.” We say, let’s borrow from Austin Texas and instead “Keep Park City Weird.”




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