Former Mountainlands Executive Director Scott Loomis announced the award by naming former Park City Councilman Tim Henney as this year’s recipient.
“But Tim, I think within seven years [as a city council liaison]not only was he an active board member and community advocate, but I think he probably voiced the need for affordable housing more than anyone I know,” Loomis said.
Henney lived in Park City for three decades, serving on Park City Council from 2013 to 2021. In addition to being a strong advocate and initiating several of the city’s affordable housing efforts, Henney served as the liaison council with the Mountainlands Community Housing Trust for seven years. years.
Henney said with the median home price now over $3 million, the Park City community is limited to attracting only the wealthy. He believes the work of the housing trust and the bold action of city and county leaders can provide options for the middle class and working people.
“I don’t believe at all [housing] price point, there shouldn’t be an option,” he said. “I would hate to see Park City become a monoculture of very wealthy people living here. I think that would be catastrophic. »
Henney said some people oppose any development, but landowner rights make defending that position untenable. Additionally, he said the data shows that affordable housing does not hurt property values and increases the sense of community belonging in economic and social ways.
A current effort to build about 15 affordable units in lower Pinebrook has been rejected by some who argue the project is inappropriate, will cause traffic problems and impact property values in the neighborhood.
“But you have to understand what they’re really up against,” Henney said. “If it’s really against tenants in their neighborhood, I’d like to understand what’s driving this. I don’t agree with those kinds of arguments, even outside of property values, but d from a philosophical perspective, from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective, and from a systemic racism perspective.
Henney said elected leaders must have the political will and be ready to act to solve the problem. He believes that citizens have a role to play by showing up at meetings and talking to their elected officials.
“That if people oppose affordable housing because they don’t want it in their neighborhood, that’s not a legitimate reason. This is no reason not to build affordable housing.
Henney, who lives in affordable housing with his partner, said he has no plans to run for a future position but will continue to fight for housing, equity and inclusion in Park City and Summit County.
The Bob Wells Award was established 20 years ago in honor of the award’s namesake. In the 1990s, Wells played a founding role in the creation of the housing trust. Wells recognized and advocated for the creation of affordable housing at the start of Park City as a burgeoning mountain resort town.
He was the first recipient of the award for his work in establishing the housing trust. The organization is dedicated to creating affordable housing, which it views as integral to the prosperity and cohesion of a community.