SALT LAKE CITY -- There are five sites under consideration for the new Utah State Prison.
On Friday, state officials involved in the discussions about prison relocation took FOX 13 on a tour of the potential sites as they begin scrutinizing the sites ahead of public hearings and an August decision by the governor and legislature.
The five sites are here:
One site is near the Salt Lake City International Airport; two are in Tooele County and two are in Utah County. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, the co-chair of the Utah Prison Relocation Commission.
For example, a site near Fairfield (in Utah County) is remote, but would have a lot more infrastructure needs -- including the possibility of having to build a wastewater treatment plant on the prison site.
A site on SR-138 in Grantsville is a longer distance away than other sites under consideration, but with its proximity to a Wal-Mart distribution center there is easier access to water, sewer and power.
The site near I-80 and 7200 West is close to Salt Lake City International Airport with access to the courts, medical facilities and other needs for inmates, but the land may not come cheap (much of it is owned by Kennecott).
Another site is between Tooele and Granstville and across the street from the Miller Motor Sports Park (the land under consideration for the prison is owned by the Miller family).
"They're going to have to balance remoteness with access and infrastructure," said Bob Nardi, Senior Vice-President of Louis Berger, the prison consulting firm.
"The further away you get from town, the less likelihood you're going to have to connect to water, sewer, gas or telecom. That only increases the cost of the project and the complexity of operating it."
Corrections officials said a site in Eagle Mountain is closer to where many prison employees currently live, but the community is vocal in its opposition to a new prison. In fact, every community under consideration for has protested it, demanding the prison stay right where it is in Draper.
"I'm trying to understand whose backyard we're in?" Nardi said, motioning to empty swaths of land behind him at one site.
The Prison Relocation Commission insists the prison is moving from its current site in Draper. They point to an aging facility and the ability to develop land at a bigger benefit to the state. The Utah Department of Corrections said Friday it supports a new facility.
"It's better for staff, for society," said Steven Turley, the Special Project Director for the Utah Department of Corrections. "All around it will be a much bigger and needed facility."
Public meetings will begin next week on the prison sites. State officials said they would take public comment. But Sen. Stevenson told FOX 13 the prison will move.
"It's going to go somewhere," he said. "We've got this under way and the sooner the better now."
Here's information on the prison relocation hearings:
- Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Promontory Building, Utah State Fairpark
155 N 1000 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84116
- Thursday, May 28, 2015, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Grantsville High School
155 E. Cherry Street, Grantsville, UT 84029
- Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Frontier Middle School
1427 Mid Valley Road, Eagle Mountain, UT 84005