Today’s Meeting and Next Steps

Before I give a recap of todays meeting, here is the link for the presentation so that you may see what was presented today by Louis Berger and MGT to the Prison Relocation Commission.

First, I would like to say that the outcome of this meeting is incredibly disappointing to me, though it was not entirely unexpected. The question has been asked if Eagle Mountain is now number one on the list. The sites are not being ranked any more but will be taken one by one as their due diligence is completed. Before everyone gets too upset by this recent development, I will tell you that it is premature to get too upset over this development, as irrational as it may seem. I assure you that my frustration level is at an all time high, so I understand that many of you are irritated.

In spite of the other significant tasks we have in front of us as a City, I will be focusing the majority of my time to fighting this prison relocation, and helping the PRC and the consultants to understand the realities of what this would mean for Eagle Mountain’s future. I am holding out some semblance of hope that we will be successful in getting through to the consultants and commission members with information to assist them in understanding why Eagle Mountain will quickly recreate the same issues experienced by Draper, only on a much shorter timeline than it took Draper. In the meantime, City staff will be holding a meeting to discuss our timeline of actions.

The time for drawing a line in the sand and declaring war has not yet come. I have committed to communicating with both the consultants and with the members of the PRC in good faith, and I will fulfill that commitment. On the other hand, my patience in pursuing communication is wearing thin given that there sometimes seems to be no “good faith” effort to gain understanding. There certainly hasn’t been any significant attempt at sharing information both ways, and I hope that this too will be a trend that we see reverse.

The City had created a brief draft report to make a case against our inclusion on the short list, but then I saw a statement in the paper over the weekend that the airport north site would be removed. I withheld the report to see what the outcome of the meeting would be, because it was unlikely that the report would change the course of action of the PRC. It is now clear what arguments need to addressed.

After the meeting today I spoke to Bob Nardi of Louis Berger, and I also spoke to Speaker Elect Hughes about my disagreement with the information presented. Where the consultant believes the total cost of infrastructure will be between 24 and 29 million after building a new road off of Cory B. Wride Memorial Hwy. Our internal calculations place the cost at 55 million without the new road and without calculating gas or electric expenses. I’d say one of us is not in the ballpark. There are many other issues that must be addressed, though the expense for just the water, sewer, stormdrain, and transportation infrastructure would make the EM site more expensive than any other.

At this point the plan is to dissect every piece of the site selection criteria to make sure we understand what the consultants are looking at. We will then schedule a meeting with the consultants and ask that they show us their figures and their reasoning behind the numbers so that we can come to a reasonable understanding of where the discrepancies arise. We will then put together a presentation of key figures which we will present to the public and to the PRC and consultants. We will attempt to engage in meaningful discussion on how the PRC truly believes that Eagle Mountain will offer any benefit to the taxpayers of Utah. Because from where I am sitting, a relocation to Eagle Mountain looks like a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars.

15 thoughts on “Today’s Meeting and Next Steps

  1. Thank you for working so hard and having the communities best interest at heart. I trust your judgement and appreciate your transparency. I think your plan is a good one, and I am behind you 100%

  2. In Walden’s offer to the PRC he offers land at no cost for half way houses, educational facilities for those coming out of prison, etc. Does this not constitute a type of bribe, something to sweeten the deal.? Is there not anything that we can do to say that this is unethical. Why wouldn’t the state choose a site where hundreds of additional acres have been offered at no cost. Basically I see it worded as if you choose my site we will give you this other land for free. I don’t see how that can not be considered a bribe. And if they choose Eagle Mountain as their final choice how can the PRC every fully convince anyone that they didn’t choose the site because of the additional land that was offered for these other services for free. How is this ethical?

  3. Mayor Pengra,

    Thank you for informing us every step of the way. I know this may seem trivial, but would you be able to make it clear to the committee why the citizens of Eagle Mountain moved out here to begin with? Personally, I moved out here because of how quiet it is, how close to nature I feel, the ability to go shooting, riding, hiking, etc. right in my backyard. I have the ability to view the stars at night because I chose to move out of the ‘big city’. The prison being relocated in our city would increase traffic, noise, crime, etc. I believe our city has much more potential for the ‘great outdoors’ with more hiking/biking trails, shooting ranges, and ATV trails. If I go on a ride I don’t want to see a prison, I want to see the mountains and open land. I don’t understand how John Walden can state that he has strong ties to the community leaders when we, including you, seem to oppose this decision to sell the land to build the prison. The prison should be located near a freeway to ease transportation of prisoners, visitors, and employees. Why would they build the prison where a highway needs to connect to redwood, back to another highway, and then the I-15?? It doesn’t make sense to put this prison right in the middle of a booming residential area. Why suppress economic growth in one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Utah?

    Is it possible to suggest to the committee that they should build upon the existing prison in Gunnison? It has been running since 1990 and the prison continues to transfer inmates out there where family and friends continue to visit their loved ones. There have been no fights or backlash regarding that prison, so why not transfer the entire prison out there? Also, I haven’t seen any locations north of Salt Lake County. Why is that? I’m sure there are properties up north that will meet the guidelines for this ‘much needed’ prison.

    I am not understanding why the committee has placed the concerns of visitors and volunteers before the law abiding citizens of Utah. The decision they are going to make is going to deeply affect our city and will cause many citizens to sell their homes. Thank you for understanding our frustration, but the committee needs to actually value our opinions, not just say they will.

    Your work is appreciated.

    Thanks for hearing us out,
    Amanda L

    • Hear are good questions. There are specific reasons for the actions of the State on the way they are going about this prison relocation. Whether or not we agree with the Draper component is an issue that may have multiple solutions, though the elements concerning Gunnison lack flexibility due to a limited water supply. The Gunnison facility will absorb additional capacity for 950 new beds, along with the limited expansion of contract prisoner service through the county jails. The rest of the additional capacity needs through 2033 will need to be made up by building a new facility. That will need to happen regardless of the Draper prison’s fate. Either a new facility with capacity for all prisoners is built or a new facility with room for the expansion is built. I hope that helps.

      Christopher Pengra

      [cid:emcicon(resized)transparency(custom)a9679e] Christopher Pengra
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  4. Good work Sir. You represent us well. Is there a legal argument against this? Ie if EM is picked Do we have a legal remedy? Do we have a choice?

  5. Thank you Mayor for being on top of this.

    I have some thoughts on this issue. I’m not a big fan of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) folks, But I do think a prison is wrong for our community. What puzzles me is why they haven’t answered the question as to why it needs to move at all? Or why other sites like why not just off I80 between SLC and Wendover in the middle of nowhere? Or out by the chemical plant in Toole county? Why isn’t a place in the desert in the middle of nowhere a consideration?

    Why does it have to be within a city limit at all? Because of infrastructure that is why. The only one who stands to gain from a prison in EM is John Walden. He doesn’t even live here; a few weeks out of the year does not a resident make. Is it true that if John has his way the city will have to pay for the infrastructure out to the prison? This again would benefit John and his Harmony plans would it not? Too bad the city can’t just buy him out so we could be rid of his influence.

    Sadly I think our options are very limited, but I hope we are successful in fending off a prison move to our city. Keep up the good fight sir!

  6. It is often said that it is a fool who does not use their resources. Mr. Walden has been a thorn in the side of Eagle Mountain with his two elected employees / associates, Senator Madsen and Representative Lifferth. The damage done to our city with the prison being relocated here is catastrophic. The city council should deny any and all of Mr Walden’s developments unless he withdraws his offer of land. It would be far less expensive to drag out any lawsuit he would bring past the decision time of the prison, than to fight the state. Can the council also zone the area for strictly residential and light commercial or use eminent domain to take the property at fair market value for a specified use. The city should use every means possible to stop Mr Walden. If Mr Walden ever threatens our Mayor or city council members, I believe the FBI can be persuaded to pick up their inquires that began when Mayor Strouse and Olsen were falsely accused by Walden, Madsen and Lifferth and prosecuted for opposing Walden. The prosecution of Mayor Olsen resulted in acquittal and the Jury foreman suggested that rather than Olsen being on trial, Eagle Mountain should be on trial. Linn Strouse made a small settled with the county and moved away because she was being crushed financially. Please immediately make public any threats made against you. It is illegal and under RICO, those responsible will face jail time.

  7. I agree with all the comments, and I thank you Mayor Pengra for your efforts. I love Eagle Mountain, I love running outside, biking and breathing the clean air, and the wonderful silence and great sight of the stars at night. It breaks my heart that the prison location is only 4 miles from my house, if the prison is built there I would leave the city that I love because I would hate to leave so close to that kind of environment and negative energy. Thanks again for all your efforts and I hope and pray that we will be taken off the list so we can keep our area nice and quiet.

  8. I hope the city doesn’t censor links to news reports that show the sad history of Eagle Mountain with John Walden, Senator Mark Madsen and Representative David Lifferth:



  9. Pingback: Today’s Meeting and Next Steps | No Prison in Saratoga Springs or Eagle Mountain

  10. Mayor
    Thank you for your efforts on this issue, I wonder if anyone has looked in to locating the prison at the old chemical weapons site near Tooele I think it belongs to the I am not aware of any plans to do any useful with it perhaps the state gov.can force their will on the feds not on the tax payers of the state.

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