I want to make each of you aware of recent developments with the State’s efforts to relocate the prison. I will give you all the information I have available to me and I welcome any questions you may have. John Walden has submitted a parcel of land at the south end of the city for consideration as a potential location for the relocated prison. Here is a map with the location of the parcel.
As you can see, the parcel is located at the southernmost boundary of the city. There is also a site located at the northern end of the city which has been discussed extensively as the Saratoga Springs site. This location is unincorporated county land between the borders of Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs.
At this time, I have met with members of the prison relocation commission, project engineers, project staff, and several of the consultants responsible for managing the process. I would like to let you know that I have been engaged in the process and I have been working diligently along with staff to understand the process the Prison Relocation Commission is following in their site selection process, and also to determine what it would mean to Eagle Mountain if the Prison were to locate within our borders.
In short, my opinion is that relocating the prison to Eagle Mountain or Saratoga Springs would result in a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars. It would also create the same encroachment issues experienced with the Draper site in Eagle Mountain and Saratoga springs, and all withing the next 30 years or less. In fact, I believe relocating the prison to Eagle Mountain would go much further than wasting taxpayer dollars, it would crush the economic development opportunities Eagle Mountain is currently pursuing (with promising results I might add).
Eagle Mountain can not sustain growth on residential development alone. It will take businesses and jobs to grow our daytime population, which will in turn grow our retail development. The property taxes and sales taxes from this type of positive growth are needed to help us bring our roads, parks, and services up to a higher standard.
Because of our geography, Eagle Mountain has great appeal for large projects which will benefit not only to Eagle Mountain, but also to Northern Utah County and the State of Utah. We have power transmission lines, a high pressure gas tap, and a fiber-optic backbone running directly through or adjacent to our city. We have inexpensive land, a young and well educated workforce, and an unrivaled quality of life with ample recreation opportunities nearby.
To locate a prison in the middle of a rapid growth area with such prospects, would squander opportunities and negatively impact the city, county, and state. It is the economic opportunities, and savings which are driving the campaign to relocate the prison. The relocation will certainly benefit Salt Lake County and the state. I understand the benefits of pursuing efficiency and economic opportunity, but let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face.
It should be noted that Eagle Mountain the city has been working hard on several economic development projects and we fully expect to see a quantum shift in our market in the next few months. The relocation of the prison has a strong potential to derail one or more of those significant projects.
Eagle Mountain City and Saratoga Springs are well known to be two of the fastest growing cities in the state, and even in the country. Here is some information from http://www.utahfoundation.org which states:
“Projections show Utah County with the highest increase of individual residents – 700,000 additional people anticipated by 2050. This significant growth in Utah County is reflected in projections for both small and larger cities. Through analysis of GOMB projections, of the 26 listed cities in Utah County, 11 have a projected percent change of over 200%. Smaller towns in Utah County will still see significant changes – Vineyard is projected to see its population multiply to over ten times what it was in 2010 by 2020; Fairfield, Genola, and Cedar Fort are all projected to more than double their populations in the same timeframe. Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs are projected to add over 90,000 people by 2050.”
In this research report, Eagle Mountain is estimated to grow by 434% by 2050 and Saratoga Springs is estimated to grow at 507%. I have posted below some documentation that will show the Eagle Mountain Site location and the estimated populations by land use.
Eagle Mountain Properties (The land owner of the proposed prison site and surrounding residential areas) has a total of 15,721 units remaining for the build out of their properties. They were allowed 22,930 total, and gained 621 with later-acquired properties. 3,352 were previously approved, and the land owner is is bringing their Harmony development before City Council this Tuesday for a development agreement on a preliminary plat that is already approved. This development will place 4,478 additional residential units in close proximity to the proposed prison site. You can see the huge number residential units in close proximity to the prison site here: Residential Interface After reviewing the maps, we estimate that approximately 80% of Walden’s property is within the 3-mile radius of the prison site, or approximately 12,576 units. Multiply that by 4.15 people per household and you’re talking about 52,190 population on Walden’s property alone. When other properties are included, the population within 3 miles of the prison will be well over 100K people.
In two simple principles we can make strong arguments against either of these two sites being chosen.
- Relocating the prison to this area would damage the economic development prospects of Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, Utah Couunty and the State of Utah.
- RElocating the prison to this area would duplicate the exact same problems of the Draper Prison inside of 30 years.
Let’s not make the same mistake twice.
To avoid those outcomes, I would strongly recommend that the commission take the time appropriate to carefully consider not only the positive economic impact of moving the prison from Draper, but the negative economic impact of the site they choose and use the delta between the two to estimate the net economic impact.
Better yet, avoid the potential all together and choose a site that would be otherwise undesirable for economic development. While it may have been in jest, I have seen Antelope Island suggested. While the logistics of Antelope Island may be a bit unrealistic, property surrounding the Great Salt Lake would not be unrealistic. The land would be under far less development pressure, would present easy access for the employees and for the 1,071 volunteers in Salt Lake County.
So what can WE do? WE can let our voices be heard. Here are some simple steps you can take.
1. visit this website! www.noprisoninsaratoga.com. It has great information about the prison relocation, with more content being added as it comes in.
2. Join the No Prison in Saratoga Springs or Eagle Mountain Facebook page.
3. Commit to coming to the very important Prison Relocation Commission meeting if you can. Dec 3, 2pm, at the Capitol: Click Here for information.
4. Contact your elected representatives and the Prison Relocation Commission. PLEASE be RESPECTFUL. I can tell you that this process is difficult, and while the process may seem unfair, these individuals are doing their best to carry out the instructions they have been given. No cursing or insulting please. It will only make things worse. Professionalism, and courteous voicing of your opinion however, will go a long way with this group.
Contacts for the prison relocation committee:
Jerry Stevenson (Senate-Chair of committee)
Brad Wilson (House-chair of committee)
Karen Mayne (Senate Dist 5)
Evan Vickers (senate Dist 28)
Gregory Hughes (house Dist 51)
Eric Hutchings (house Dist 38)
Mark Wheatley (house Dist 35)
Bryant Howe (assistant director)
Robert Rees (associate general counsel)
Brian Bean (policy analyst)
Sara Thomas (leg secretary)
Mr. Rollin Cook
Executive Director of the UT Dept. of Corrections
no e-mail listed. His secretary’s e-mail is:
Mr. Ron Gordon
Executive Director Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice
Mark Madsen (senate 13)
David Lifferth (house 2)