Tom Smart, Deseret News
Robert Farrington

Mayor Ralph Becker is counting on Robert Farrington to do for the rest of Salt Lake City what he's done for downtown.

Farrington, the longtime executive director of the Downtown Alliance, was introduced Wednesday as Salt Lake City's new economic development director, charged with capitalizing on the city's assets to reach its economic potential.

"Today marks the beginning of a bright future," Becker said, "not only for our city but for the state and region. Regions prosper with a strong core. Salt Lake City can and must be the regional leader for economic development in the Intermountain West."

Farrington has headed the Downtown Alliance since 1992, when the nonprofit arm of the Salt Lake Chamber was formed. More than $2.5 billion in public and private funds have been invested in Salt Lake City during his tenure.

Farrington served as chairman of Downtown Rising, unveiled in March 2007 as the blueprint to guide Salt Lake City into the future. He also helped generate support for light rail.

"As we see our downtown rising with unprecedented investment and development, we will need Bob's qualifications and experience to guide us through the next five years," Becker said.

Farrington cited several community assets to build upon and boost economic development in Salt Lake City, including the University of Utah, the Salt Lake City International Airport and the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I think there's no better time than right now to really achieve the promise (Salt Lake City) has of being a great American city," he said.

Farrington replaces Alison McFarlane, who left the city in August 2007 to become director of Salt Lake Community College's institutional marketing and communications department.

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