The Tooele County Association of Realtors Board of Directors want to officially state their opposition to the Prison Relocation Committee’s decision to keep the SR-112/Depot Boundary Road site on their short list of three potential sites for the Utah State Correctional Facility relocation.
We further oppose any site that is located within Tooele Valley between the Oquirrh and Stansbury Mountain ranges. Any site located within Tooele valley is too close to the people who live and work here. Tooele Valley is not an appropriate site for the Utah State prison relocation.
Tooele County has two main growth corridors, both located in Tooele Valley. One is along State Route 36 between Tooele City and Lake Point and the other is along State Route 112 between Tooele City and Grantsville City. As this is the central location to the main populace of Tooele County, the county and private investors have located many recreational facilities in the corridor to serve the public. These recreational facilities include Deseret Peak Complex, owned by Tooele County, and the Miller Motorsports Park.
Deseret Peak Complex has several facilities including two museums (The Mining Museum and the Utah Firefighter’s Museum) an aquatic center, a BMX race track, an archery park, baseball fields, convention center, equestrian race track, rodeo grounds, Motocross track, motorized arena, pavilions, playgrounds, pitch n’ putt golf course, RV camping, softball complex and more.
These facilities are located directly across the street to the west of the proposed site and they are used by thousands of people, including children, each year. The Miller Motorsports Park is home to worldwide races and a race car museum. It attracts people from all over the world for various events all year long. It is the site of the Tooele County Chamber of Commerce Easter Egg hunt that is held for children of Tooele County each year.
The PRC stated at its Dec. 22, 2014 meeting that there were no plans for development on the SR-112/Depot Boundary site. This statement is false. There is already development there and more in the works. Both Tooele and Grantsville cities have included this property in their annexation plans for the future as that is where the area’s growth is forecasted.
The Tooele County Commissioners and local city leaders have been working to bring businesses into the former site of Tooele Army Depot, which is just south of this property, and also to the area by the Miller Motorsports Park, and have been able to do so. Relocating the prison to this property would discourage future investors from coming here and hinder economic growth in Tooele County.
Additionally, the Miller site is located too close to many residential developments. The Miller site is only 1.08 miles west of the Overlake Golf Course. This is a residential golf community that will have hundreds of homes that extend around the course and directly south of the golf course. The Miller site is only 2.13 miles away from the Clarke Johnsen Junior High School, 2.39 miles east of Overlake Elementary School, and a church (2.32 miles) in addition to hundreds of homes.
The Miller site is only 2.77 miles east of Grantsville City residential areas. As stated on Dec. 3, 2014 by Mr. Nardi at the PRC meeting, “No detailed field evaluations were conducted during the screening process.” Had any field evaluations been conducted the PRC would see this is not a suitable location to relocate the prison. This area is not, in Mr. Nardi’s words, “isolated with little to no development nearby.” It is not remote and there are plans for current and future development in place and more in progress.
Tooele County has limited water resources. The water resources required for the prison of 700 acre feet, or 250 million gallons per year, is equivalent to the amount of water used by about 1,000 residences, which will limit growth in Tooele Valley. Tooele City and its irrigation companies have been on water restrictions for years. The loss of additional water to a prison facility can only make this precious resource scarcer and will stop the residential and commercial growth we have been experiencing over the past two decades.
Thousands of people have invested money into real estate in Tooele Valley. There is a perception with prison relocations that property values will decrease if the prison is relocated in the area. In real estate markets, perception becomes reality as emotions come into play when people make decisions. Purchasing property is one of the largest transaction decisions an average person will make in their lifetime. The loss of property value will hurt the citizens and the governmental entities of Tooele County.
As stated in Resolution 2015-04, Mayor Patrick Dunlavy and the City Council of Tooele City are correct in their assessment that the prison’s current location (Draper) should not be abandoned to advance the economic development of one area at the expense of another’s (Tooele Valley) economic development plans.
We respectfully request that all prison location sites being considered in Tooele Valley be removed from the PRC’s list of potential sites for the relocation of the Utah State Prison.
Cahoon is president of the Tooele County Association of Realtors.