Panel narrows list of possible sites for new Utah state prison to 4; Will name soon

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SALT LAKE CITY — State officials said Wednesday they're eying four northern Utah locations that could be home to a new state prison, but they're not ready to name the sites, yet.

Kaysville Republican Rep. Brad Wilson, a co-chair of the state Prison Relocation Commission, said the locations will be publicly named in about a week.

Commission officials are still meeting with local officials in those communities to give them a heads-up before the public announcement, Wilson said.

"There's communities that are disappointed that they're not on the list," Wilson said. "There's communities that are disappointed that they are on the list. And there are communities that are trying to figure out, 'Is this a good thing or not?'"

The four locations have been culled from a list of 26 spots in Box Elder, Salt Lake, Utah and Tooele Counties.

The commission is looking for a spot to replace the current 700-acre prison in the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper.

After studying the issue for years, Utah legislators decided earlier this year to rebuild the prison elsewhere, which is expected to cost about $450 million.

The Draper facility that needs modernizing and more space and is tying up real estate while high-tech firms are moving in nearby.

The commission plans to start a deeper study of the sites while allowing time for public comment and community input.

Wilson said some of the locations that didn't make the shortlist could be reconsidered as officials dig in and compare the spots and the potential cost of building there.

"The least expensive land price could actually result in the most expensive overall cost if you've got to bring in a lot of water, sewer, power," Wilson said.

The sites were rated based on the amount of land available and their access to populations, highways and utilities.

The commission is still studying how Utah will pay for the new facility.

Wilson said Wednesday that the state could use several options, including paying cash or issuing bonds.

Once the commission picks a spot or a few spots, they will send along a formal recommendation for the Legislature to take up in January.


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