Rally opposing relocating prison to Tooele County held across the street from open house

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GRANTSVILLE, Utah -- The Prison Relocation Commission is hosting the second of three open houses on the issue Thursday, and at the event in Grantsville a protest against bringing the prison to the area was underway across the street.

The open house put on by the Prison Relocation Commission was scheduled for Thursday evening inside of Grantsville High School, and right across the street was a rally organized to oppose relocating the prison to the area.

The rally organizers invited food trucks to the park, and there was a free concert scheduled for Thursday night as well. It was all part of an effort to get people out, and organizers were hoping the public would come to express their concerns and doubts and let the Prison Relocation Commission know they don't want the prison built in their community.

“I hope they can see our community is very much against the prison,” said Jewel Allen, who co-founded the group No Prison in Tooele County. “I hope that they see we care about our community, and that we will be tough on them on the questions. We expect them to answer questions truthfully and not just one-sided.”

Inside the high school, the open house has information about what modern prisons look like and how they impact--and some would say benefit--a community. The open house featured a question and answer period from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We're very pleased by the turnout," said Bob Nardi, a consultant with the Louis Berger Group hired by the commission.

A steady stream of people visited the information booths at the public open house, where employees of the Utah Department of Corrections were on hand to answer questions.

"Everybody is genuinely interested and concerned, and I think they're coming away with a lot of accurate and valuable information," Nardi said.

But not everybody felt that way.

Clayton Cammack, a Grantsville resident, said: "This seems to me like blatantly trying to shove something down our throat than trying to give real information."

Michele Calhoun lives across the street from the proposed site in Tooele County, and she spoke against bringing the prison to their backyard.

"Nobody wants it," she said. "I'm sure the people in Draper don't want it now because they have these beautiful homes, and I know it's high-value property market, but Grantsville and Tooele Valley itself has always been the dumping ground, and I think its time for us to get out of that."

Those protesting the prison in Tooele County had a victory earlier this week, as there were originally two possible prison sites in the county. However, the site near the Miller Motor Sports Park was taken off the table and the Miller family says the land is no longer for sale.

Another common concern among those at the meeitng in Grantsville was the availability of water resources. However, the prison relocation commission believes they could help the city's water supply by improving infrastructure.

"We think that working together we can do great things," Nardi said. "Not only to serve the needs of the prison, but we find ways of improving the infrastructure for the community as well."

Thursday evening's open house followed the same format as an open house in Salt Lake City last week, with paid consultants along with some prison employees giving out information.

A moderator helped to keep an even tone during the question and answer session, but before it started the Mayor of Grantsville offered a few remarks toward the Prison Relocation Commission, and they were not kind words. He obviously does not want the prison here, and he said this is a statewide issue that should not be pushed on his city.

There is one more open house to be held next Thursday in Eagle Mountain, where two more sites for the new prison are being considered. See below for details.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m .
Frontier Middle School
1427 Mid Valley Road
Eagle Mountain, UT 84005

More info here.

6 comments

  • bob

    If it MUST be relocated, pick the community which contributes the highest percentage of its citizens to the prison population.

    That seems fair, doesn’t it? I don’t know which town that is, but it should be easy enough to find out.

    Put the garbage where the garbage is generated.

  • Mikenay

    I think that your reports fail to show just how close the Grantsville location is to homes. You lead your viewers to believe that this location is out in the middle of nowhere in grazing land. When in reality there are neighborhoods less than half a mile from the site. Be responsible in your reporting

  • Steve

    If the prison is such a wonderful community investment why doesn’t Gary Herbert put it in his back yard? I don’t see any Politian’s offering their land or assets to have it moved into their back yard. If it’s so wonderful, why don’t they? All the research I have done shows devalued property shortly after the prison “grand opening”, little to no economic growth and if it does happen to pull in any growth it is with large low paying corporate chains that eliminate local business and align their business with convicted felons for State Refunds of course (Rehabilitation Funds tax payer funded of course). How is Utah going to improve the security for everyone that is negatively affected by forcing the prison relocation on smaller communities that don’t have the funds to block them? Last I checked, I did my homework before I moved to Tooele and moved to a location aligned with my criteria which doesn’t have a prison in my back yard. For those of you complaining about where the prison is; made that choice knowing that it was there and made the choice willing to accept that prison. Now that its “Prime Land” doesn’t give you the right to infringe on my American Rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness which are all potentially affected when a released violent offender repeats their crime on OUR community. Besides, Tooele already has enough of Utah’s junk and garbage programs… IE the Chemical Depot and Nuke waste site, which don’t mix well with convicted felons not to mention the Army Depot, Utah Test and Training Range, and other high value military assets which also don’t mix well with convicted felons. What happens to all of the positive assets we have in Tooele when we have a massive influx of Felons running around our community? Oh and for those of you that claim that the felons are in the prison are sadly mistaken because community crime rate increases by sometimes 50% when the prisoners do their time and are released into OUR community. 82.1% of Property Offenders are rearrested within 5 years. 76.9% of Drug Offenders are rearrested in 5 years, and 71.3% of violent offenders are rearrested in 5 years. So with the revolving prison door, everyone in our community is at risk of a repeat offender. (taken from “Congressional Research Service”, Nathan James, Analyst in Crime Policy January 12, 2015″). Lastly US prisons are becoming more and more of a Corporate Enterprise which means that many local prisons are sold to FOR Profit Corporations which immediately lower prison employment wages and benefits to increase profits which results in higher employee turnover and in many cases unfilled positions which puts that same prison at risk not to mention the increased risk to the community its located in. How will Utah guarantee us that this won’t happen? If they are willing to shove a prison down our throats for “prime land”, what will stop them from making a deal with some corporate prison company? Our community is at risk because of their “greed” to move a prison and sale that “Prime Land” for Millions. I say whatever community gets this prison shoved down their throats should become the new owners of that “Prime Real-estate” so we have the assets available to protect ourselves, move if they want, or to do with as they please. One last note, Tooele is a small city, how can it handle this large prison with our current infrastructure, IE the water, sewer, power, roads, police, EMS, Hospital (ONE), and everything else associated with this diabolical political move.

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