What’s going in at the site of the old Utah state prison?
According to state leaders, there will be a wide variety of amenities on the 600-acre site near the Point of the Mountain. That will include 8,000 to 10,000 new homes – mostly multi-family units – along with parks and trails, stores, businesses, and even higher education offerings.
But what about a sports franchise?
“We would love to have a baseball team,” Gov. Spencer Cox said at a news conference Monday morning, “and I agree that this would be a great place to have a baseball team.”
There are no such plans yet, but Cox has made no secret in the past of his desire for a Major League Baseball expansion to include Utah.
The governor and other state leaders are bullish on the potential for the old state prison site in Draper, which they toured Monday morning just before their news conference. Abatement on the now-closed prison buildings will begin right away, followed by demolition in a few months.
Then, infrastructure will be installed on the site to prepare for new construction, likely sometime in 2025.
“It’s a generational project,” said Scott Cuthbertson, deputy director of the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, “and we want to make sure we do it right.”
State leaders say this will be a “15-minute” city with everything walkable and accessible in that amount of time.
“We’ll have entertainment space. Lots of retail, commercial buildings as well Research and development,” said Cuthbertson. “So, it truly is a mixed-use community.”
“There probably aren’t very many opportunities for a state to have this many acres that they can plan from the ground all the way up,” added Draper Mayor Troy Walker, while acknowledging the construction headaches that Utahns will face for years. “I think the opportunity and the potential are worth the headache of the construction.”
What about water? Utah has been dealing with a serious drought.
“We do have enough water for it,” said Cuthbertson. “We’re looking at really creative, innovative ways to recycle water, reduce the need for water.”
Cuthbertson also said recycling and conservation will guide workers as they demolish the old prison.
“Crush the concrete, use that for some of the road base,” he said, giving an example. “We’re trying to be conservative in how we do it.”
Not everything will be demolished, though. Cox said the prison chapel – an important place for inmates over the years – will be preserved. Exact plans for that are still being worked out.
“They’ll design around that chapel,” Cox said, “making sure that it has a prominent feature here at The Point.”