Fate of Draper prison site to be decided by the state

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The Draper prison site land is in the hands of the state. The Utah State Legislature’s Prison Development Commission will ultimately be responsible for the decision of what will happen with the site regardless of public opinion.

The possible land use diagrams for the Draper prision site created by Loci, a landscaping company. (Loci)
The possible land use diagrams for the Draper prision site created by Loci, a landscaping company. (Loci)

“That’s what this commission is going to be charged with,” Utah House of Representatives spokesman Chuck Gates said. “The legislation is committed to finding the best use of the land.”

The Prison Development Commission signed Aug. 11 a resolution to move the Utah State Prison from Draper to a site west of the Salt Lake City International Airport. Since then, Draper City Mayor Troy Walker has been outspoken about his big plans for the redevelopment of the Draper prison site.

Walker is enthusiastic about urbanizing Draper with high rises and tech companies. Michael Budge, associate principal at landscaping company Loci was the brains behind the Draper prison site redevelopment plan. Budge said the plans were drafted just to show city planners what can be done with the 300 acres of space. He said even though they haven’t done any market analysis, he believes they are still a viable option.

Draper City Manager David Dobbins said officials have adopted this vision, but without a way of bringing it forth.

“Because the property is owned by the state of Utah, the city has no regulatory authority over what happens,” Dobbins said.

He said they hope to be collaborative in the decision process even though city officials don’t have a final say.

Gates said the commission isn’t necessarily opposed to the mayor’s plans.

“Anything that is viable — including high rises — will be discussed,” Gates said.

He said there are many ideas to consider, but the mayor’s plans will have weight in the decision made by the state. He added no matter what happens, “it has to make sense for the Utah taxpayer.”

The commission does not have its next meeting scheduled, but representatives say it will likely take place in early October.

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