There is a major debate happening in the Utah Legislature. In 2014 the legislature voted for moving the Utah State Penitentiary. Since the legislature voted to move the penitentiary, the public has involved their opinions starting protest groups. There are a few potential move sites that include Tooele County and next to the Salt Lake International Airport. From the beginning, legislatures have wanted to move the penitentiary to a site that will not have to deal with encroachment from all sides, so they have looked to find build sites near lakes, mountains, and uninhabitable land.
If the legislature successfully moves the state penitentiary, Rep. Brad Wilson believes that the old site for the penitentiary will become a booming business center with 680 acres to develop, creating about 40,000 jobs and bringing about 1.8 billion dollars into the future economy. If the legislature decides to keep the penitentiary in the same place the renovations will cost about 250 million dollars to properly update the current prison or 1 billion dollars to build a new one.
There are multiple economic benefits and costs. The cost, of course, of building the new 1 billion dollar structure will cause Utahn's to see a rise in their taxes immediately, and lasting for at least 20 years. There is also the cost to the current employees of the penitentiary, if the structure is moved the potential commute will increase the amount of gas the average employee uses. This will also cause more inversion with more commuting. One more cost is the value of the land surrounding the new site of the penitentiary, the value will decrease because, being located next to a prison is not a favorable attribute when building housing developments. The benefit of moving the penitentiary is that the structure will become safer to work at, because the current structure is not correctly built for the purpose it is being used for. The potential for a 1.8 billion dollar economic boost with high paying jobs is a major economic benefit for any business in the surrounding area. This will create a growing economy and an increase in cash flows in business surrounding the potential business site. By moving the site to a strategically well planned area there will be new businesses willing to build next to the prison which will include, most importantly, hotels and restaurants. People in the state penitentiary have visitors and those visitors will need a place to stay while they travel.
I am curious to hear your opinion on this topic of moving or renovating the current prison and whether or not the taxes are worth it?