Prison Relocation Decision

The Prison Relocation Commission voted unanimously on August 11 that a new state prison be built near the Salt Lake International Airport, at about 7200 West north of I-80.

Salt Lake City Councilman James Rogers, District 1, joined Mayor Ralph Becker in a press conference just after the decision was announced, on the proposed site for the new prison. (source: Salt Lake City Council website)

We are troubled to learn that the Prison Relocation Commission has chosen Salt Lake City as their recommended location for a new Utah State Prison. Despite the vocal and constant opposition from our community and information Salt Lake City has provided that this site is unsuitable for this use, the Commission has recommended moving the prison to our City.

By moving the prison out by the Kennecott tailings in west Salt Lake City, the State will have ignored the opposition by our residents and elected leaders.

Salt Lake City will continue to fight today’s decision, and we look forward to working together with Salt Lake City’s legislators to pursue all options to prevent the prison being built. This State prison would be a new, additional burden, removing taxable property and potentially adding costs.

The Salt Lake City Council hand delivered a letter to Governor Herbert, stating the city’s continued opposition to the relocation of the state prison.

The Salt Lake City Council remains opposed to relocating the Utah State Prison from Draper to Salt Lake City. Simply put, there is at best, a questionable use of public funds based on the poor analysis done by the PRC’s consultants. The economics of that information led to the decision to locate in Salt Lake City, which is therefore inherently flawed.

The challenges addressed in the letter included

  • building a foundation in an area with a high water table and on unstable soil that runs 125 feet deep in places.
  • the need to address the Boo-acre landfill at 7200 West.
  • the cost burden to citizens with the $559 million to build a new prison,building the prison’s foundation which will cost more than $6o million, an estimated cost of between $31 million and $64 million to run utilities to the prison site; $30 million to buy the land; and between $6 million and $8 million to: build temporary roads accessing the prison from 1·80 to s6oo West and North Temple

Finally, questions were posed to the Governor with a request for acknowledgement of the magnitude of the investment it will require to build a new prison.

What company relies on so-year financial projections to make decisions? What company in Utah accurately predicted its financial position today in 1965? Wouldn’t a better calculation of cost effectiveness measure cost savings over the time it takes to pay off the construction bonds?

The Mayor and City Council will continue to actively oppose this measure in the hopes that the decision will be reversed.