Recalling a simpler time in Park City, Jim Doilney recounts the issues he faced as a city council member in the mid ’80s. Then, as now, traffic was a big concern, but with a different spin. “We didn’t have enough traffic!” he chuckles, “especially in the summer.” Back then, the council worked to recruit businesses to hold conferences in town and to help create events to draw tourists.
Today, a new generation of city council members guides Park City’s future, and the newest of them is another Doilney, Jim’s son Max. In January, Max took the same oath his father did in 1984, becoming the second generation to assume a leadership role in a very different town. Traffic remains one of the biggest issues the council faces, only now the problem is too much traffic. “Transportation is the biggest issue in every focus group—it’s the number one thing,” Max reports.
The Doilneys may well be Park City’s first father-son council members. Max followed his dad’s footsteps in business as well, owning and managing the Corner Store Pub and Grill, an icon at the base of Park City Mountain, which Jim and his brother Mike Doilney started in 1974 and Max took over 17 years ago. Max started a newer off-shoot of the business, Corner Sports, downstairs from the pub in 2018. While Max and his business partner, Jeff Jacobs, have their hands full with the shop and eatery, Max decided to throw his hat in the ring and represent a different demographic in city hall.
“I thought being involved in government was more important than just being a letter-to-the-editor guy, and I tend to be someone who dives in headfirst.”
“I thought being involved in government was more important than just being a letter-to-the-editor guy, and I tend to be someone who dives in headfirst,” Max says. Talk about headfirst. Within two months of his swearing in, the ski season ended abruptly and the city went into quarantine because of Covid-19. “I was put on the Economic Resiliency Task Force, meeting regularly with other government and business leaders to prepare for summer and next winter. “It’s a good time to have someone like me in that position because, as a businessman who’s been hit financially and as a parent of two small children, these are issues I’m experiencing in real time,” Max says. Besides navigating coronavirus and traffic, Park City’s—and Max’s—top priority is creating more affordable housing for young families. He sees young parents in town as a historically underrepresented group in city government.
“People might need to get ready because we’re going to make some big moves,” the younger Doilney predicts, referring to planned traffic and housing initiatives.
“I’m incredibly proud of him,” Jim says. “City council is the place to be.”