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Utah State Prison to relocate to SLC, one SLC councilman believes

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Posted at 10:19 PM, Aug 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-11 07:48:19-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah State Prison is moving to Salt Lake City, according to one city councilman.

While the state Prison Relocation Commission (PRC) is not expected to make a decision until Tuesday afternoon, Councilman James Rogers is convinced the facility, currently located in Draper, is moving into his district.

“It was always about why it should be in Salt Lake City,” Rogers said.

The property is located off Interstate 80 at 7200 West. It’s one of four sites up for consideration, including land in Eagle Mountain, Fairfield and near Grantsville.

"Salt Lake City, I think, was the number 1 hit list, was the number 1 target on this hit list,” Rogers said. “Yeah, I’m calling it a hit list because nobody wants it. I think that it’s been in Draper and it should be rebuilt Draper.”

During months of debate and public comment, a list of more than 50 possible sites for the prison was narrowed down to the four, despite criticism from city officials and residents in every location.

The seven lawmakers who serve on the PRC have not stated their position on the issue, but believe they will come to an agreement by Tuesday.

If Salt Lake City is chosen, city officials could take legal action to prevent plans from going further.

“I assume that they would file a lawsuit based on public safety concerns, based on environmental concerns,” said local defense attorney, Greg Skordas.

In the past, the city has expressed various environmental concerns, including the land’s proximity to an old landfill and wildlife impact.

Mayor Ralph Becker has said they are exploring all options, including litigation, as they await a decision.

“The state of Utah is going to do what they want to do,” Rogers said. “I’m dejected that it’s coming to Salt Lake, for sure. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a fight that is going to go on with it.”

If the commission makes a decision Tuesday, it still has to be approved by the legislature and the Governor. That would likely happen in some kind of special session.