Draper weighs in on proposed prison move

Feb 23 2014 - 8:57pm

DRAPER -- Draper City officials have drafted their ideal plan for the plot that is now home to the Utah state prison.

City officials on Thursday and Friday shared a series of drawings showcasing what they say could be a bustling economic and residential hub, should the prison vacate its slot between two highways south of Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1e0UaXw).

Draper Mayor Troy Walker told lawmakers this week that the plans are still very new but are the most specific yet.

"We want to show you that we're players. We'll do it the way it needs to be done," he told legislators.

Walker said he imagines the space as one that provides jobs, businesses and homes.

The digital renderings show a center with space for laboratories, offices, shops, apartments and condominiums.

The Draper prison is hunkered in the middle of a high-tech corridor, halfway between facilities for eBay Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. A caucus of Utah House Republicans this week backed a measure to move the state prison.

The Draper City Council this week voiced its support of a proposed move of the prison by passing a resolution this week saying that the 700 acres could transform into a "significant economic center."

Draper City Councilman Jeff Stenquist envisions the area as a busy economic hub.

"We're looking at jobs," he said, "not just subdivisions and strip malls."

The city council's vision falls in line with plans put forward by the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Stenquist said, because it would help the burgeoning suburb cater to a growing population. It would also allow people to live close to work, public transit and commuter roads, which he says could help the area cut down on air pollution.

The state could save as much as $1.8 billion per year if it moves the prison, according to an outside consulting group hired by the Utah Legislature.

Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, is bringing forward two resolutions to advance the plan to relocate the prison. House Republicans in a meeting Thursday backed the idea.

Advocates are urging lawmakers to make it known if they have business interests that could intertwine with the potential relocation.

To date, 21 representatives who will consider the proposal have real estate and development ties, according to disclosure forms filled out by lawmakers.

Utah has been considering moving the prison for more than a decade.

The consulting firm said the net cost of moving the prison would be $102 million, which it considers money saved by avoiding repairs to the aging prison.

 

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