Comments about ‘Jay Evensen: Replace prison with a large public park’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

Evensen: "Would Americans devote a large park in the center of a busy city to the work of just one sculptor?"
Um, ever hear of Central Park and Frederick Law Olmsted? (well, not a sculptor, but architect)

How nice to agree with Mr. Evensen for a change. There have been a few voices out here in the wilderness suggesting that Utah follow precedent and dedicate former prison land to public purpose rather than selling it off for private development, but that idea has gotten little traction. The south end of the valley, where not too long ago you could still find barns and wheat fields and pastures, desperately could use more public recreational open space. Unfortunately, the legislature has a disproportionate number of members in the real estate and development business and the potential revenue from selling the prison land is a large motivator for the idea to move the prison and the income is cited as the way to fund the move. Eliminating that revenue by keeping the land public would necessitate a new source of funding for the move. Taxes, anyone?

Alternatively, how about a 20 year moratorium on sale so no sitting legislator benefits?

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

I absolutely LOVE this idea.

If the politicians advocating for relocating the prison are genuinely interested in what's best for the public, and not enriching themselves and their buddies in the real estate and construction business, then they would endorse this idea.

But if they don't, then they've made it plain as day that the real motive behind relocating the prison is simple greed.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with the first two commenters.

How about, just for fun, Herbert puts forth the stipulation that IF the prison is moved the ground MUST be used for public open space (man-made lake, park, ball fields, etc). Anything else would be vetoed.

See if "interest" to move the prison dries up?

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

I know Frognerparken very well indeed, having spent many happy hours strolling through its gardens and sitting on its benches, enjoying Vigeland's marvelous sculptures. I think this is a wonderful, but perhaps impractical idea. But creating those pieces was Vigeland's life work. Utah has seen some wonderful artists over the years, but I don't know any as prolific as Vigeland. Also, all of Vigeland's statues are nudes. I think they're glorious, but I'm not sure my neighbors would agree. Would Utah go for that? Doubtful.

Fitz
Murray, UT

NO more parks, at least until the ones we have now can be adequately maintained. Right now, the County Parks are close to $100 million behind in deferred maintenance, and this seems to be the trend in most of the cities and countys throughout Utah. State Parks are terribly underfunded as well.

It is short sighted to build more parks when we can't afford what we have today. With the history of lack of funding for parks and the constant borrowing by government entities, it would be fool-hearty to create another park of any size. If we do move the prison (I believe that it is a foregone decision and that PRATT is solely window dressing) at the very least the State should honor the economic development intentions which the POM lands were designated for in the event of the POM prison relocation. I want to see the tax revenue, not more tax expenditure.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"I want to see the tax revenue, not more tax expenditure."

Fine. Eliminate the deduction for children on income taxes.

trueblue87
Provo, UT

I think this would be a great idea. But I agree that creating and maintaining such a park would be a significant expense. If it were to be developed into a park, I would like to see it funded and maintained by private funds and donations. As the Wasatch Front becomes more and more developed it would be refreshing to have the open space to get away from the commotion of the city for an hour or two.

redshirt007
tranquility base, 00

If the park idea doesn't sell I can guess the next idea will be to throw so many Utah'ns in jail they will claim they need a new bigger supermax prison. Just wait.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Salt Lake City, UT

What happened to idea of building large regional parks?

iPads happened.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

The park idea isn't too bad. Draper is the only city that wins if we move the prison and develop the land.

The land around the existing prison will drop in price. You add that much more land available to develop and the existing won't be worth as much. Ask the local mayors.

The thousands of volunteers will not be as close and it would also hurt the visitors coming. Both are used to help prisoners not to come back. Even if we could save a few bucks, at what cost? If you leave those two out, you will need more buildings than we need now.

There isn't the higher education or hospitals where they have discussed moving it. The prison already can't get enough guards because they don't want to commute that far in the future.

I wonder about the $500M to $600M to build a new facility, move, and demo the old one. Perhaps, but in this case it is the staff and the people that cost more

VickieB
SLC, UT

Build a park. Prove to the citizens that building a new prison is for need, not just clearing space for business.

The new prison will cost much more than maintenance of a park. If money is the issue, then a new prison is not needed.

jp3
Salt Lake City, UT

Where do I sign the petition asking that the land be turned into a park? Fantastic idea.

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