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Salt Lake City's Fairpark community has hope for future with closure of crime-ridden motel

Posted at 10:06 PM, Sep 24, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — After 62 years of business, the Gateway Inn in the Fairpark area of Salt Lake is renting out its final room.

“The Gateway Inn we’ve recognized probably as the nexus where a lot of criminal activity comes from,” said Fair Park Community Council Chairman Nigel Swaby. “Tonight, I am happy to report, is the last night it will be in business.”

READ: Man in the hospital, another man arrested after shooting at Gateway Inn

“This is what the neighborhood needs to transform its potential,” said Gateway Inn owner David Pope.

Community members say the neighborhood’s crime rates have been affecting businesses beyond the motel.

Family Dollar on 900 West, about a block from the Gateway Inn, shut its doors Friday night. Before that, former businesses in the area like Walgreens, Arctic Circle and Wienerschnitzel all faced the same fate, according to council members.

“Theft, vandalism — I can’t tell you how many times their front door has been broken out, their windows have been broken out. I’ve been in there when a manager had to scream at someone who was trying to steal things,” said Swaby. “Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence around here because we have such a cluster of people facing poverty and involved in a criminal lifestyle, and this is where they go.”

READ: Gang prevention group hosts basketball event for Salt Lake area youth

Both Swaby and Pope said they and other community council members are hoping this will transform the neighborhood into a better place.

“North Temple is a primary area for redevelopment. You’re very close to downtown and the new airport,” said Pope. “This whole stretch of town is going to see a big transformation in the next five years.”

“We’ve lost a lot along the way, but as a community, we’re hoping to see something better come out of it,” added Swaby.

Pope said he expects to see a new apartment complex built in place of the Gateway Inn. He says the new owners are already preparing to have security on standby during construction.