Last month, the state’s Prison Relocation Commission announced its final three choices for the proposed site change of the Utah State Prison. Eagle Mountain, Tooele and Salt Lake elected officials and residents are now voicing opposition to the selection of their areas for consideration.
Tooele Mayor Patrick Dunlavy said relocating to the area will stifle Tooele and Grantsville’s economic futures, taking away valuable land from planned future developments. He also said the city was not amply consulted before Tooele’s placement on the relocation list went public.
“Had most of the information on these sites been put out at the beginning so we could go through this, it would’ve precluded a lot of wasted time and a lot of money spent by the state because all of these issues being brought up now could’ve been brought up before,” Dunlavy said.
Dunlavy told media he was offended that officials wanted to create economic development opportunities in Draper City at the expense of opportunities in Tooele.
Eagle Mountain Mayor Christopher Pengra said relocating the prison to the Utah County town will lead to the same conditions that prompted the move from Draper.
“We’re bigger than Draper was at the time the prison was located there. At Eagle Mountain there are already people located in much closer proximity and we’re one of the fastest-growing cities in the state of Utah,” Pengra said. “From the state perspective, we’d be looking at another prison move within 30 years. I just don’t think that makes sense when we’re talking about spending hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Pengra said Eagle Mountain city officials oppose the suggested relocation to their area because of transportation and infrastructure issues, as well as the distance of the city from Salt Lake City.
Public rallies against the proposed prison relocation sites have been held at various locations. Dunlavy said public opinion against relocation is strong and unwavering, and he said it will stay that way in his area, even if the Tooele site is chosen.
In December, the Prison Relocation Commission decided the new location will not be selected in the 2015 legislative session.