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Resolutions oppose proposed prison site in Tooele County

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TOOELE — Officials from two cities near a Tooele County site being considered to relocate the Utah State Prison signed resolutions Wednesday opposing the move.

Tooele Mayor Patrick Dunlavy accused the Legislature's Prison Relocation Commission and its consultants of violating its own rules, failing to disclose it was considering the site adjacent to the Miller Motorsports Park and exaggerating the site's favorability.

"It offends me that some state and local officials want to create economic development opportunities in Draper city at the expense of economic development opportunities in Tooele City and the Tooele Valley," Dunlavy said.

A lengthy report outlining the city's complaints against the commission will be hand-delivered to its members and state leaders, the mayor said. It will also be available on the city's website.

Members of the Tooele City Council and more than 50 residents, many touting signs protesting the prison, applauded Dunlavy as the resolution passed unanimously, opposing the relocation site and asserting the city will not provide sewer or water to the prison if it moves to Tooele County.

Meanwhile, the mayor and City Council in nearby Grantsville were signing a similar resolution Wednesday, Dunlavy pointed out.

"It's important for you to know that we are one voice in trying to do what's right for this county and especially for our citizens to protect the investment each of you have made," he said.

Jewel Allen, a Grantsville resident and founder of the No Prison in Tooele County group, said following the Grantsville meeting that she feels encouraged by the city's efforts to block the facility.

"I have been studying the issue for the past several weeks, but to hear the points succinctly shared as to why the prison is not a good thing for our city and county was gratifying," Allen said.

It offends me that some state and local officials want to create economic development opportunities in Draper city at the expense of economic development opportunities in Tooele City and the Tooele Valley.

–Patrick Dunlavy, Tooele mayor

Tooele City Council Chairman Brad Pratt echoed support for the resolution and offered his opinion that the prison should be remodeled where it stands.

"The proposed site is right in the center of where the largest cities in this county are growing together, cities that are working very hard to grow not only with residents, but economically and in providing infrastructure," Pratt said.

Proposed sites for relocating the aging Utah State Prison have been met by loud protests in cities across the Wasatch Front, with polls indicating a majority of Utahns believe the correctional facility should stay put.

The Prison Relocation Commission announced its three finalists last month: In Salt Lake City near I-80 and 7200 West, outside Eagle Mountain, and in Tooele County.

The commission is efforting a public engagement plan including open houses, brochures and social media messages to share information about the selection process. They agreed last month to also consider new sites for the $450 million project.

Commission co-chairman Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, has said he still hopes to have a recommended site for the Legislature before the end of the 45-day session that starts later this month. The date of the commission's next meeting has not been announced.

Sites in West Jordan and Saratoga Springs, where landowners had already withdrawn their offers, along with a site north of Salt Lake City International Airport with costly wetland issues, have been cut from the list.


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McKenzie Romero


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