Prison Relocation Commission takes questions at first of three open house events

Posted at 9:36 PM, May 20, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- A meeting regarding the relocation process of the Utah State Prison just wrapped up in Salt Lake City Wednesday night, and it was the first of three meetings where the public could ask questions about the five final sites under consideration.

The Prison Relocation Commission took two hours of questions during the event at the Utah State Fairpark. The idea of relocating the prison has been an unpopular one, so the commission also offered an open house as well in an effort to present some benefits of moving the prison.

A couple hundred people came to ask about prison relocation.

Submitted questions were read by a moderator: “Our next question comes from Steve in Salt Lake City: What is the soil composition of the site?”

Commission members did their best to answer, while also simultaneously hosting an open house.

“I think there's a lot of misinformation, a lot of rumors out there that have, really, maybe upset people more so than they should,” said Bob Nardi of Louis Berger Consulting Group.

Nardi has been hired by the Prison Relocation Commission to assist in the process.

“Part of what we did here today is set up individual stations where specific topics are being addressed,” he said.

One station showed a video characterizing newer prisons as being aesthetically pleasing.

“A modern correctional facility looks more like a college campus, a medical facility, or a business park,” someone can be heard saying in the video at the station.

Brad Sassatelli, a consultant for MGT of America, said that it is a fair comparison: “It is. There's been a great effort in the last 20 years to design facilities that fit into the environment.”

Another station had handouts indicating the city that gets the prison will benefit financially from development and property taxes collected from prison employees, who will move in to be closer to their workplace.

“That’s an easy thing for somebody to say, but you don't see the existing localities that are hosting the prison clamoring to keep it there,” Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, said in response to that idea.

The prison relocation committee has two more meetings just like this one, see below for dates and times.

Thursday, May 28, 2015, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Grantsville High School
155 E Cherry Street
Grantsville, UT 84029

Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 4:00 – 9:00 p.m .
Frontier Middle School
1427 Mid Valley Road
Eagle Mountain, UT 84005

More info here.