Geoffrey McAllister, Deseret News
Frank Gray was introduced today by Mayor Ralph Becker to lead Salt Lake City's Department of Community and Economic Development.

Urban planner Frank Gray has been on Salt Lake City's speed-dial for years — and in Rolodexes before that.

Now, calls seeking Gray's planning and redevelopment expertise will ring at City Hall.

Mayor Ralph Becker today introduced Gray as the city's director of community and economic development, filling a position that has been vacant since the first-year mayor took office in January.

Gray is an "internationally known" planner, Becker said, credited with developing and implementing urban and redevelopment planning in communities throughout the U.S. and Europe.

"He brings decades of experience and service," Becker said at a press conference outside the Salt Lake City-County Building.

Gray has worked with Salt Lake City on planning and redevelopment projects for the past 23 years, most often at the request of the City Council. The city first sought his help in 1985 to lend expertise to the creation of Sugar House's first master plan. Gray most recently has been helping the City Council with revisions to city ordinances relating to conditional-use permits.

"The City Council has relied heavily on Frank over the years," Becker said.

Gray replaces Louis Zunguze, who was not retained as the city's director of community development when Becker took office. One of Becker's first acts as mayor was to fold community development and management services into the economic development department, forming the department of community and economic development.

As the department's director, Gray will oversee the city's divisions of planning and zoning, transportation, housing, building and licensing services, the arts council and economic development.

Mary De La Mare-Schaefer, who had been directing the department during the five-month national search, will return to her role as deputy director. De La Mare-Schaefer will work in tandem with Bob Farrington, hired May 21 as economic development director, under Gray's direction.

"I think there are mountains that can be moved with that team," Gray said.

Gray has been serving as general manager of the department of planning and development services in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 2005. He previously was planning and development director for Lakewood and Boulder, Colo.; Petaluma, Calif.; and was deputy director for the city and county of Denver, with primary responsibility for the planning and economic development aspects of Denver's $2.5 billion new airport development project.

E-mail: [email protected]