Fairbourne Station — Getting Back to Our Roots
Fairbourne Station — referred to as the focal point of West Valley City — is more than just a fancy, new entertainment center and tourist haunt. For many Utah residents, Fairbourne Station is the focal point of West Valley City because they share a branch on the same family tree. This multi-phase development project is named for West Valley City’s own Joseph Watson Fairbourne. In the early days of “Fairbourne Station,” Joseph Fairbourne’s weighing station was a common stop where local farmers, ranchers and other residents would come to weigh the goods they planned to sell at market. As more and more residents flocked to the station it began to transform into the heart of West Valley City’s center for commerce, trade and economic development. With Joseph at the scales, locals were “weighing in” on more than just beef and lettuce. They were discussing the progress of their great city, dreaming about the day when West Valley City would become Utah’s landmark for progress and innovation.
Fairbourne Station located between 3500 South and Lancer Way is currently in phase one of completion. “Phase one includes the park and Embassy Suites; the park will open July 2012 and the hotel November 2012,” says Aaron Crim, director of public relations and neighborhood services. “Phase two includes the residential and office components, which will break ground later this year. The timing of additional phases has not yet been determined, but will include additional residential units and a civic center which will include a relocated City Hall and library.” The “Master Vision” for Fairbourne Station is being spearheaded by Nicole Cottle, economic development director, and her team of experts.“Fairbourne is a priority for several reasons,” Crim says. “For many years, West Valley City has wanted a recognizable downtown area; also, the area surrounding City Hall is one of the older areas of the city and has become blighted, making it ripe for redevelopment.” Fairbourne Station and the surrounding area will receive a complete facelift thanks to the involvement of many gifted partners and contributors. Stanley Consultants will be functioning as the plaza designer, ICO Management is heading the residential side of things, and GBS Architects will be focusing on the promenade, just to name a few. Many individuals worry that the collaboration of so many corporations could lead to conflict in regards to the planning design. But each of these corporations is proving that they share the same vision and hope for West Valley City and Fairbourne Station. If it truly takes a village to raise a child, it seems only natural that it would take Utah’s second largest city to raise the infrastructure of Fairbourne Station.
IN ALL FAIRNESS
For those involved in the dozens of planning meetings and council sessions, it is fairly obvious that Fairbourne Station will bring West Valley City an economic boom of seismic proportions. But for those who have not been following every press release, status update and tweet, it is only fair to assume they would have a few lingering questions. Among many residents there seems to be a bit of hesitation about such a grand project because of the current economic climate. “This is definitely a major undertaking in this economy,” Crim says. “However, timing is perfect. By creating a Redevelopment Area, the city can fund the project using future tax allocations and redevelopment funds. Also, construction costs are lower during the recession giving us a bigger bang for our buck.”
COME ONE COME ALL
Developers and city officials predict that the additions of new residential housing, tourist accommodations and green space will attract the type of visitors and locals who will work together to bring additional prosperity to the area. “West Valley City has already seen succes s with the development because the new synergy in the area has drawn several other major projects such as the Valley Fair Mall redevelopment and the Megaplex Theater,” Crim says. “More projects will soon be announced that are directly related to the efforts within and around Fairbourne Station. In addition, the new hotel, apartments, shopping and dining options will add more tax revenue to the city’s coffers.” With this flux of newcomers the overall infrastructure of the roadways and parking will also have to undergo major reconstruction. City officials want to ensure residents that road safety and efficiency will remain a top priority amidst the changes in the area.
“Traffic flow has been a concern since the beginning, and West Valley City has worked with traffic engineers to ensure an efficient design,” Crim says. “Roads have been designed to allow proper traffic flow, and structures have been designed to include ample parking. Fairbourne Station is a ‘transit oriented development,’ so much of the project has been designed based on the research that shows certain percentages of visitors, residents and workers using public transit.”
If all goes as planned, by December 2012 Fairbourne Station will be hustling and bustling with more than just the spirit of the Christmas. City officials mean it when they say Fairbourne will be the focal point of West Valley City — it is the center of the community, not just the center for tourism. “The development has a four-acre park that will draw all ages and lifestyles,” Crim says. “The Embassy Suites hotel will draw tourists, and the Class A Housing and public transportation options will draw families and young professionals.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY
As building after building continues to spring up, locals in the 84119 are turning to their family history books in order to stake their own claim on this soon-to-be center for hip trends, entertainment and business. Yours truly did precisely this when I first heard about the new development. As a descendant from the Fairbourne line, I like to think that the old weighing station runs in my blood. Joseph Watson Fairbourne’s legacy lives on in each pavement stone and blade of grass between the coordinates of 3500 South and Lancer Way. And although his scales wouldn’t have been able to handle the loads of scaffolding, I am quite confident his descendants are “weighting” in anticipation as Joseph’s dreams for West Valley City take shape at the new Fairbourne Station.