Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 9, 2014
A higher and better use than for a prison

I, with other elected officials in Tooele County, was disappointed by the announcement of the Prison Relocation Commission that a site adjacent to the Miller Motorsports Park is on the short list for a new prison site.

This “Miller Property” in the heart of Tooele Valley, is adjacent to or in the path of current and projected population growth and economic development from three different directions. What we envision and plan for this area is homes, stores, commerce, services, convention center/hotel, and recreation center in connection with the Motorsports Park and Deseret Peak Complex — not a prison!

I have received numerous emails and other contacts from concerned citizens opposing the Miller Property for a prison site. I assure the citizens of Tooele County that I will do all in my power, working with other local and state officials, to ensure that a prison is not built on the Miller Property. I propose a three-pronged approach.

First, we must and will communicate clearly to the Relocation Commission that we are unitedly opposed to a prison on the Miller Property. We have been assured from the beginning by the commission and state officials that a prison site would not be forced on an area that opposes it. We will hold them to that promise.

Second, we should actively assist the Relocation Commission to identify other potential sites that are not in the path of residential or commercial growth. One of the problems with the current search model is that it ranks “proximity to the current Draper site” as the most important criterion. Any proposed site in close proximity to Draper is bound to conflict with residential and commercial growth patterns.

I realize that we must give some consideration to current employees and service providers. However, the highest concern must be for the security and peace-of-mind of our citizens. Surely, we can find a site that is sufficiently convenient for existing employees and service providers that is also sufficiently remote from areas of population and commercial development.

Third, county leaders should contact the Miller family with alternative uses for their property and urge the Millers to withdraw their property from consideration for a prison site. The Millers have been wonderful neighbors in our county and have provided an amazing attraction for further economic development. We should work together to find a higher and better use for their property than a prison.

 

Nelson is a Republican Utah House Representative for District 68.

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