The Utah Prison Relocation Committee has narrowed their search for a new site for the prison down to six locations. The Commission has identified 3 sites in Salt Lake County, two in Tooele County and one in Utah County as the next possible homes for the Utah State Prison. The proposed locations are the top scoring from an initial list of 26.
Rep. Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville), co-chair of the commission, said the six sites they’ve identified will get a thorough vetting.
“We owe a duty to make the best possible decision without fear or favor,” said Wilson. “This is the largest capital non highway project in history of Utah. Taxpayers will be asked to pay hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s imperative we get this right.”
The consultant firm hired by the commission to evaluate possible sites took into account a number of factors including existing infrastructure, proximity to population centers where employees and volunteers are community acceptance.
In coming House Speaker Greg Hughes (R-Draper) says proximity to population is a key factor when evaluating potential locations.
“I’m sure there are people in Gunnison who would love to have this prison there,” said Hughes. “The challenge is the workforce does not exist there to meet the needs of the prison.”
Consultant Bob Nardi of MGT of America said all of the six sites that rated the highest best meet a number of factors.
“All of them have level topography and good infrastructure,” said Nardi. “They’re also large properties that are close to the road system.”
Hughes said the process going forward will be one of the most transparent the state has ever seen.
“When they first moved the prison from Sugarhouse to Draper, they thought it was far enough away that they would never have to deal with it again. Well, here we are,” said Hughes. “This might be the worst process you’ve ever seen except for all the rest. We want a clear understanding of what the state is doing and how it will impact communities. We want to have as much objectivity in this process as possible.”
The six sites will now undergo further evaluation.
The commission will meet again on December 22.
Written by Bryan Schott on