Comments about ‘Utah prison relocation: Boondoggle or economic boon?’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 7:50 p.m. MST

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Kaysville, UT

I would believe that Riverton, Utah has benefitted by $100Ms of dollars over the years due to the hotels, jobs, service industries and other jobs and benefits from having such a large institution in their back yard. People since the early 1950s knew the prison was in their area when they moved in and long term families at that time would be older than 60 and have adapted to that facility, even though it expands on its 600 plus acres due to more programs. The related industries would then move to another location and for some that would be a cost. The newer facilities would probably be better but the prison has updated along the line due to mandatory requirements the federal and state have forced into security and other statutes.

In 50 or 60 years, the new area will have to deal with similar issues but the new Sugar House in Riverton and Draper and Lehi will also have to deal with new issues such as gated communities, seniors and their lifestyle changes, nursing homes and retirement centers and other mundane items including cemeteries, etc. Life goes on.

sandy, ut

Here in Utah we used to value open land and undeveloped areas. Now, if there is a dollar to be made people will develop the land. It is really sad, but nearly every square inch of the salt lake valley will be developed soon. Moving the prison is a rediculous idea that will only make the developers and local officials rich. The rest of us get to pay for their huge salaries. What a joke

Angleton, TX

Utah, the land of multi-level marketing scams and crony capitalism. Republicans in Utah are quick to criticize Obama all the while electing an AG with very sketchy ethics. That is what you get when you have one party to choose from.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

Who is going to pay to relocate all of the employees? Will they be given a home-purchase option to help them sell the homes they currently live in or will the employees be treated as just a commodity?

Since prison guards aren't well known for being wealthy and I'm going to assume that most of their spouses work in the local community, will any kind of job assistance be offered to spouses of employees? Who will pay for the new schools to house the children of the employees? Who will pay for the infrasructure of the new community that will have to be built?

There's more to moving the prison than just moving the prison.

Kearns, UT

I'm sure that Ellis Ivory and Terry Diehl are way on board with this proposal. I'm sure Draper City is too. I see $$$ signs.

A new prison would cost billions. The state won't get that for that land the prison currently sits on.

I say keep it where it is. BTW Phoenix has a major prison right on the I-17 corridor just north of town. Same with Las Vegas along 1-15. San Quenton is in Marin County surrounded by all kinds of swanky development. They are not moving San Quenton time soon. Also the Wyoming State Prison is right in Rawlings.


What about the current prison employees who now work for the prison? How will this affect them? Would they want to relocate? There is also the issue of the many volunteers that come to the prison to provide their time to help who live in the SLC area. I also think this will be a problem for medical treatment for prisoners who receive care at the U Medical Center.
It just doesn't make sense for the state to do this now when they the legislature is screaming that there isn't any money to fund the government that is in place now. It's good the state isn't thinking of privatizing the prison, other states that thought that would save money are finding it isn't the case. Will this be like some of the other departments in the state who have a few at the top who profit from the sale? Think UTA or Dept. of Transportation. The prison move shouldn't be fast tracked!

Somewhere in Time, UT

Oh, you cynical people. I think this is an idea whose time has come. That real estate is too valuable for other things to continue to be used for an outdated, run down prison. The market is the best determinant of what is the best use for the property. The city has moved south until it surrounds the prison and it is no longer the best use of the land. I say let the state sell it and get the proceeds. Let developers come in and turn it into a more attractive, productive location.

Honestly, some people see evil in everything.

Go Big Blue!!!
Bountiful, UT

I guess we never need to make a formal study regarding a major project for the state. Just put an article in the newspaper and the comments will give you a factual analysis of why we shouldn't even consider it.

I agree that in a project like this there is cause for concern. But when you consider what it costs to operate the state's correctional facilities I think it is worth looking into options that could help reduce those costs while upgrading facilities. Lets get the facts before we come to any conclusions.

Wasatch Al
South Jordan, UT

Didn't we go through this earlier with FrontRunner land? It seems legislators and their buddies benefit from the land deals while taxpayers take the chances. Check and see if the same legislators are all over this again.

Clearfield, UT

I can hear it now. No prison anywhere near my neighborhood. A prison nearby would lower my property values. I have worked in corrections. Everytime we tried to build a community correctional center the neighborhood opposed it. There is a not suitable location in the state that would not face bitter opposition. It will happen. Communities will be divided. I have no doubt.

Central, Utah

Well here is an idea to include IF there is a decision to re-locate. Land sales (by the State) to actual land user with no developer, middle-men etc. Due dilligence requirements that the proposed business must be operating within a specified operating time with a given number of employees (like on some economic development deals.)

ALSO the State would retain a first option to buy-back the land at the price it was sold for if the purchaser was to cease. Development of the land, such as roads would remain with the land, buildings could be removed or a price negoiated for them.

All planning and zoning for the future use of the prison land should be completed before the final decision was made. All plans for the new prison would b complete so new construction costs would be accurate before the final decision is made. This would include options, access, power to the new prison site.

Given all this you could start deciding if it would be a "good deal" for the citizens of Utah and all factors such as miles for visitation, staffing etc. could be considered !

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

Move the prisoners but leave it empty. Develop it like Alcatraz. Wouldn't be suprised if it's haunted like it.


@ "dalefarr" You "hit the nail right on the head" You're exactly right with your comments.

The way I see the "bigshots" getting their piece of the pie is this: The legislators won't EXACTLY make the money themselves, rather they'll tell their "brother-in-law" or their "second cousin twice removed" as to the location of the new prison. Then, obviously the "brother-in-law" buys up all the real estate surrounding the new prison.

The legislator has "insulated" himself.
I agree with "cjb" - put out requests to bid on selling the existing property, see if ANY private developer will pay what it costs for a new prison to be built. If not forget the whole scheme.

I won't even begin to speculate how much payola will be involved in building the (potential) new prison vis-a-vis the construction/development companies!

As someone else already said "Private profits, public financing".

The Utah way!

Lindon, UT

Allen #2:

Antelope Island is a Utah State Park. Good luck in getting the state to close that for a prison! I will not happen.

utah cornhusker

I lived several years in Utah. I think there are people that are in there just for their own gain. If it isn't advantageous for the state and the taxpayers have to fit the bill than I don't think it should be relocated. All if the correctional facilities here in Nebraska are located in Omaha and Lincoln or very close to them and I think it is where they should be located. Lincoln is home to the pen and it has been the same pen I can remember. Never been moved and there are no plans to move it. The only change is the hardened ones eg death row go to Tecumseh and the woman's reformatory is in York but not far from Lincoln. If our governor even suggested moving it id write him and express my feelings.

Farmington, UT

Schools wear out and get replaced. So do government buildings. How many new city halls have been built in the last decade in Utah?

News for the anti's-----prison's wear out, too. Utah's is so old it costs tons to maintain it. But that's ok---it's just convicts anyway, right?

I just hope they use good reasoning power and not politics as to where a new facility ought to be built.

Fulton, MO

The ake of of the proposed committee is a conflict of interest. Board of corrections? Who wouldn't want "new digs" (just not in Juab county). Economic committee? What are they getting paid to do? That is too easy. Real Estate? Not lining their pockets, how do you propose that they do that. Fox and hen house hmmmm heard that before.
1600 Volunteers? not outside of the current location.
Back to the drawing board on this one. Another scheme to increase taxes.
When Hill Air Force Base is closed it may make sense to move it there. Pleanty of people to provide volunteers and a ready work force. Benefit Utah loses one of the Federal government shackles.

bountiful, UT

i am retired from corrections. the state would save money on maintenance as most of the prison is falling apart.. inmates do not have to be transported physically to court. gunnison uses video for many of their proceedings.. this is a big decision.. hope they think of all the angles before jumping in with both feet..

Red Smith
American Fork, UT

Developing 600 acres is going to bring $20 Billion to the State? Really? That's funny. The land is only worth $140 million but will bring in $20 Billion. That's funny.

Must be magic land. The State should not get into the development business. The private sector has a hard time getting this right. The State will have a harder time.

There are plenty of other 600 acre parcels in Salt Lake County and Utah County. Of course, the hand picked committee recommends moving the prison. That's why they were picked.

What of the social costs of prisoners far removed from family and friends? What of prison employees having to commute long distances or move.

The point of the Mountain is congested already. The air quality in the valley is bad. More buildings in a bad airshed is bad business. On a bad day its a parking lot. On a good day its congested.

Of course this is already a done deal. So why bother discussing it?

Rawhide Kid
Sevier County, UT

That's what they need to sell the state land & have more urbanization and pollution. I have no problem moving the prison, but the existing land should be leased out for agriculture to feed the urbanites. Remember 1983 when the land slides blocked Hgw. 6 and the Railroad thru Spanish
Fork cyn. Commerece was shut down for about a year. If that had been the only food source the city folks would parish. Also remember the blockaid of Berlin. Food had to be flown in to the city. Natural disasters do happen. The prison property should be used to feed the folks, and prevent further pollution.

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