Potential prison relocation site taken off list for consideration

Posted at 3:32 PM, May 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-27 09:02:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- One of the five remaining sites for the Utah State prison relocation has been taken off the table.

On Tuesday Miller Family Real Estate announced their Tooele County property is being removed from consideration.

The Miller family owns 900 acres of undeveloped land across the street from the Miller Motor Sports Park.

The announcement comes as good news for many politicians and residents of the county who have been protesting against the prison for the past several months.

"We're grateful to the Miller family for making this decision and wanting to do what's best for our communities," said resident Katrina Hill.

Hill is the founder of the group, No Prison in Tooele County. She is proud all of their rallies, emails and petitions are paying off.

"We want to know that our voices are being heard and things are going according to what we desire," Hill said. "We actually met with members of the Miller Group. It was a good back and forth dialogue, very open and they did listen and they were accepting of our views."

Tooele County officials say the proposed site has economic potential that would have never been reached with a prison.

"The last thing we would want is a state institution that doesn't pay any property taxes or generate any sales tax," said Commissioner Shawn Milne.

Milne added the announcement should end rumors as to why the Millers have decided not to renew their lease, with the county, at the motor sports park.

"That perhaps the state prison would be imminently coming, this obviously puts to bed that rumor," Milne said.

Rep. Douglas Sagers, R-Tooele, was asked to speak on behalf of the Miller family on how they came to their decision.

"Let's look at the facts, let's make a decision based on the facts, what's best for our family, what's best for the community, what's best for the state," Sagers said."At the end of the day they thought it would be in the best interests of everyone to not sell it to the state for a prison because of location but use it for economic development purposes long term."

There are now four remaining prison relocation sites. Two are in Utah County, at the southernmost point of Eagle Mountain City and at the southern end of the town of Fairfield. One is in Salt Lake County, west of Salt Lake International Airport. The fourth is in Tooele County near the Walmart distribution center in Grantsville.

Tooele County residents say they don't have time to celebrate Tuesday's decision. They still have work to do.

"It just reminds us that we still have one tough site on the list, but now we can focus all of our energy and all of our efforts on this site and getting it removed," Hill said.

The next prison relocation meeting/question and answer session will take place May 28 from 4-9 p.m. at Grantsville High School, 155 E. Cherry Street, in Grantsville.

Also on May 28, the group No Prison in Tooele County will hold a rally against the prison at 5:30 p.m. in Grantsville Park, located at Cherry and Quirk Streets.