West Jordan residents, leaders protest possibility of state prison coming to town

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WEST JORDAN, Utah -- A quiet, sprawling piece of property in West Jordan is starting make quite a bit of noise among its neighbors.

Next door to a local elementary school at 8200 South is the potential new home to the Draper State Prison.

"We moved here for this very reason: serenity. Never did we think we’d have to be battling our elected officials for a prison that was in our backyard,” said residents Nathan and Christine Kidd.

Families joined city leaders of surrounding communities Friday to protest the possibility of the prison coming to town.

“There’s no place for it here. It needs to go somewhere else,” resident Scott Hardey said.

Earlier in the week, the State Prison Relocation Commission revealed a list of six locations they believe would be a good fit to house the prison. West Jordan learned it was ranked first among them, a move West Jordan Mayor Kim Rolfe said was a mistake.

“This really is the place for our state's future,” Rolfe said. “It's not a place for a prison."

The problem resides in another piece of land adjacent to the potential prison.

According to Rolfe, the city has been in negotiations with three big business that want to move into the space, bringing jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars into the area.
If the prison were to encompass the approximately 500 acres it requires, those companies could go elsewhere.

“These are significant companies,” Rolfe said. “They, like me, don’t believe this is going to be the location of the prison.”

It was a sentiment echoed by city officials in the neighboring communities of South Jordan, Taylorsville and Herriman.

“Why would you put a prison over here or anywhere along the Wasatch Front that is going to have high growth potential, economically and residentially?” asked Mayor Carmen Freeman of Herriman.

The property in question is owned by the Jones family. FOX 13 News contacted one of the owners, Merlin Jones. According to him, the family has not decided what they want to do with the land. They are still considering what the sale would do to the value of other land they own nearby.

4 comments

  • Angelia Jones

    It makes me so mad!!! Every one is saying move the Prison but then say no we don’t want it here!!! What a joke this is if you want it moved then don’t say oh we can not have it here it is to close to me and my kids. It has to go some where so where would people like it to be put?

    • Todd

      Actually Angelia, anyone that understands this and has been following the process does NOT want the prison to be moved. That’s why this whole thing is dirty and corrupt. There is absolutely no valid reason to relocate the prison. The number one argument that is being made by the few people that want it moved is that it is being encroached upon by residential areas. Yet, nearly every site they have proposed is in a high growth residential area. The pictures they show of the sites make the locations look isolated, but if the photographer turned around you would see neighborhoods, churches, parks, and schools as close as across the street! Those that want it moved are those that want to make a big profit by selling their land to the new prison and those that want to develop the land upon which the current prison sits. Is it any wonder that members of the committee are real estate developers themselves? There are all kinds of back room deals going on and in the end, if this is approved, not only will the unfortunate people in the neighborhood of the new prison be harmed, it will harm every tax payer in the state. Even if you live no where near any of these sites you should be joining the fight to KEEP THE PRISON WHERE IT IS!

      • Greg jacquart

        Amen Todd. Plenty of room at current site to rebuild where the prison stands. People that live close to the prison chose to do so and did not have it forced upon them.

  • Dixie

    Todd and Greg are so right, leave the prison where it is for heavens sake! There is no reason to move it, just remodel and add on the current one. It’s only the money hungry people who want to move it. These people don’t care about the residents of the communities they are purposing it be re-located to.

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