Salt Lake City

Fairmont Earns 'Great Places' Listing


October 3, 2012
Contact: Art Raymond

Fairmont Earns ‘Great Places’ Listing
National  planning group lauds Sugar House neighborhood for history, vitality and economic resurgence
SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City’s Fairmont neighborhood was recognized today as one of the 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012 by the American Planning Association (APA) as part of their Great Places in America program.
The APA said Fairmont was singled out for its historic links, bustling town center, recreational and cultural offerings and involved residents.
Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces featuring unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. The 2012 Great Places have many of the features Americans say are important to their  “ideal community” including locally owned businesses, transit, neighborhood parks and sidewalks. The selected places illustrate how the foresight of planning fosters tomorrow’s communities.
"The Sugar House streetcar project and the new development that it's bringing is the most recent chapter in a resurgence story that began decades ago in our historic Fairmont neighborhood," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. "Residents, community groups and City representatives have worked together closely to protect and enhance Fairmont's character while carefully planning for growth. Now, all who live, work and do business in the area know it's one of the most charming areas of the City. This recognition by the American Planning Association is well-deserved."
Construction of a $55.5 million streetcar line, to open in 2013, has helped leverage $405 million in private investment in the neighborhood. The redevelopment of 1.9-million square feet on seven sites within a half-mile of the new streetcar station will bring morethan 1,000 new residences and dozens of businesses and offices to the neighborhood. The greenway surrounding the new line will add more than five  acres of green space to the neighborhood.
“Community investment and engagement are at the heart of Fairmont’s renaissance,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “Unwilling to allow creeping neglect and abandonment from taking root in their neighborhood, residents turned to planning to enhance Fairmont’s now-vibrant commercial center, renew its parks and upgrade its transportation options.”
Established in 1853, the neighborhood was named for what was intended to be the area’s first sugar mill. Fairmont was Sugar House’s first residential subdivision with the bulk of its homes, mostly late Victorians, constructed from 1900-1910. The 1890 late-Victorian Cannon House, now a bed and breakfast, was listed on the National Register in 1983. The area in which it resides – Fairmont’s Forest Dale Historic District, with its tree-lined streets and uniform setbacks – was added to the register in 2009.
Fairmont thrived until the end of World War II, when decline and disinvestment slowly began to settle in. In 1981, residents andplanners embarked on a four-year effort resulting in the Sugar House Community Master Plan, which was updated in 2005. The community council’s push for downzoning prevented homes from being broken up into multifamily units and helped sustain neighborhood character.
Enhanced streetscapes – including road and sidewalk improvements and the installation of planters, fountains, lighting and landscaping – resulted from establishment of a business improvement district in 1983. The mid-1980s designation of the business district as a redevelopmentproject area and crafting of the Sugar House Business District plan, which included design guidelines, resuscitated the flagging commercial corridor.
Fairmont Park and Hidden Hollow Natural Area offer recreational opportunities and host community events. The Parley’s Trail, including a $4.2 million underground pedestrian and bicycle tunnel that will eventually connect Hidden Hollow and the business district to nearby Sugar House Park, will provide access to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to the east and the Jordan River Parkway on the west. A popular community garden replaced decaying tennis courts last year.
For more information on APA’s Great Places in America Program, visit