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DRAPER — A majority of Utahns want the state prison to stay at Point of the Mountain, according to a new poll.
A Dan Jones & Associates survey for UtahPolicy.com found that 55 percent of residents oppose moving the facility, while 36 percent favor a new site.
And of those who support a move, 40 percent favor the prison going somewhere in Tooele County. Somewhere off the Wasatch Front and somewhere in an unpopulated part of Utah County each garnered 19 percent support, the poll shows.
The Prison Relocation Commission's effort to find a new location for the prison has drawn loud objections in Salt Lake City, Eagle Mountain, Tooele County, West Jordan and Saratoga Springs. Property owners in the latter two cities have decided not to sell, leaving the commission with four proposed sites, including two in Salt Lake City.
But Sen. Jerry Stevenson, commission co-chairman, said Wednesday other sites have come up this week that bear looking at.
"We have never closed the door to additional sites," the Layton Republican said.
Asked if they are in Tooele County, he said "yes and no." Stevenson said the locations would be referred to the commission's consultants for evaluation.
"If they're really good, they'll bubble to the top very quickly," he said.
At its last meeting earlier this month, the commission voted to consider population and a city's or county's master plan when evaluating proposed locations. It also doesn't want a site to conflict with the state's effort to attract new businesses.
The additional guidelines could effectively drop some of the sites from the list.
The commission intends to recommend one or possibly two sites to the Utah Legislature for consideration, Stevenson said. It wants to have earnest money down so the property owner "can't walk away from us" and a financial plan in place, he said. The project is estimated to cost about $450 million.
The commission meets again next Monday.