Fire at Will: Park City Mayor Nann Worel

PARK CITY, Utah – In this informative and reoccurring series, set to be published every Friday, I will engage in thought-provoking discussions with different elected officials and notable figures representing Summit and Wasatch Counties. With each conversation, my aim is to delve into the essence of their roles, shedding light on the extensive responsibilities and obligations that come with holding public office.

In this series we will also discuss their perspectives on the pressing matters that impact their constituents, and the strides they have taken to alleviate these concerns and foster progress within their communities.

With that being said, the subject of this weeks interview and discussion is none other than Park City Mayor Nann Worel.

For those of you that might not know Mayor Worel, she is originally from Seattle, Washington, and then moved down to California to attend college at UCLA. After graduating from UCLA, Worel would meet her husband who was attending law school at the University of Alabama, and where she would spend the next 20 years of her life.

Worel and her husband moved to Park City in 2008, where she would immediately become involved within the community. Before entering public office, Worel worked as the executive director of the People’s Health Clinic here in Park City, working to serve the uninsured residents of Summit and Wasatch Counties.

Worel would take the leap into politics after nearly eight years working for the People’s Health Clinic, as she was elected to her first term on the Park City Council in 2015. She would be reelected to the City Council in 2019, and would serve six on the Council before being elected and sworn in as Mayor in January of 2022.

Worel believes that the experiences of serving on the City Council for nearly six years adequately prepared her for her role as Park City’s chief executive.

“I think what the city council helped me with was a real deep understanding of the issues facing us now, and how we got to where we are and what past decisions were made,” Worel said. “These past decisions brought us to where we are with housing, where we are with transportation, and what past city efforts have been. I think that it’s really hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you come from and how you got there.”

During her time on City Council, Worel believed that the biggest challenges facing the city were transportation, housing, the environment, and social equity. The Council she sat on adopted these four challenges as ‘critical priorities’, calling them critical because if they didn’t get them right there would be major consequences down the road.

In regards to Worel’s time as mayor, she spends a lot of her time acting as a liaison between the people and the city.

“I spend a tremendous amount of time responding to resident inquiries or concerns, or a lot of times people just don’t know how to get things done,” Worel explained. “They don’t know who to ask about issues they’re having, so they ask me, the Mayor.”

Her job also entails acting as the ‘face of the city’, and she represents the city on several committees and boards, including the Olympic Bid Committee. Despite this, Worel feels as if her greatest responsibility as Mayor is to hear everyone’s concerns.

“I work for the people of Park City and I can’t do my job if I don’t hear from them,” Worel said. “It’s been important to me to try to hear all voices. We had some groups that tend to be kind of silent or marginalized. And so it’s been important to me to see how do we hear from our neurodiverse population? How do we hear from the seniors? How do we hear from our Latinx community?”

Worel and her office are attempting to achieve this by making their office more accessible, and she has introduced office hours and ‘Mayor and Council in the Neighborhood’ to hear from more voices.

“One of my big goals when I came into office was to kind of reopen City Hall to the people that are paying for it. We’ve done a lot of different things, I have open office hours, two afternoons a month, where anybody can come in and share ideas, or concerns, or ask questions, and it’s a great way for me to meet people that I otherwise might not have an opportunity to,” Worel said.

“We also take City Hall out into a neighborhood once a month on a Saturday morning. We call it mayor and council in the neighborhood. There’s no agenda. I’m there, some council members are there, and then we bring key members of the staff depending on what issues certain neighborhoods are dealing with.”

Worel appreciates the ability that accessibility gives her to understand all sides of the story, which helps shape how she looks at different issues.

In terms of action she has taken since coming into office, Worel believes that her collaboration with the seniors and the senior center has made a substantial difference.

“One thing that I’m really excited about is that the city, our senior center, and our seniors have kind of had a rocky relationship in the past, and we pushed the reset button when I took office and worked really closely together,” Worel explained. “We signed a new memorandum of understanding with our Senior Center, and we’re moving forward with the help of a committee from them and from our staff, working on creating the Senior Center and some affordable housing for seniors which has not been done before.”

Worel has also been taking action on issues such as mitigating traffic flow, and is in the process of developing an intercept lot of Highway 40.

“When you get off of 40 coming into Park City, there’s a relatively new stoplight, and if you turn left you would go over to Park City Heights neighborhood. Then if you were to turn right that’s the Gordo parcel that the city owns. And we are currently doing feasibilities on putting an intercept lot there so that as soon as people are coming off of 40 they have an opportunity to park in this intercept lot.”

“Then we would do direct shuttles to resorts from there, and we would do direct shuttles to Old Town to our new arts and culture district,” Worel explained.

Affordable housing is also a top priority of Worel’s, and she has been working with developers to develop more affordable units throughout Park City.

“Our land management code, which guides our development within our city limits, for years has had a requirement for affordable housing,” Worel said. “Park City has been very active building affordable units for years. We currently have 650 built and our goal is 800 by 2026. We’ve got the the engine house, and that’s the first public private partnership for affordable housing the city has done. The city has the land and we’ve been working with the developer to come up with plans for 99 affordable rental units.”

Besides the commonly heard issues of a lack of affordable housing and traffic, Worel has also prioritized the issue of the rising costs of childcare in Park City.

“Childcare has emerged as a huge issue, not only within our city limits, but also county wide. And at last week’s budget meeting, the city allocated a million dollars for the next fiscal year, and we will adopt the final budget this afternoon. And that’s a million dollars to go towards addressing childcare and the childcare issue.”

The budget was approved by City Council, and $1 million will now be allocated to subsidize current childcare providers in Park City.

While Mayor Worel is only about a year and a half into her four-year term, she has already taken significant strides to resolve some of the issues plaguing Park City. When asked if she would run again in 2026, Worel said she would definitely be interested in seeking another term.

“I think that a lot of these things take a while to get accomplished, like the intercept lot I’m so excited about, and there are certainly a lot of things that I want to see happen, and I think we’re on track to accomplish those. So I definitely would be interested in a second term to see some of these things through,” Worel said.

Outside of work, Worel is a season pass holder at Deer Valley and loves to ski, hike, and do anything outdoors. She encourages residents to come visit her at her office hours to ask any questions they may have, and looks forward to discussing problems people are having, and how she may be of assistance in resolving them.

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