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With Draper prison now closed, officials eye Utah’s next big redevelopment project

Utah State Prison in Draper, now closed, Aug. 15, 2022
Sean Higgins
/
KUER
Once home to thousands of inmates, the Utah State Prison will be demolished to make way for a new community called “The Point,” Aug. 15, 2022.

The Utah State Prison in Draper shut down this summer after 71 years of service. All 2,464 inmates have been transferred to the new state correctional facility in Salt Lake City, and the buildings are now scheduled for demolition as early as next year.

Taking its place is a vision for a community called “The Point,” which will be built on 600 acres of land around the now-defunct prison.

Speaking at a press conference at the site, Point of the Mountain State Land Authority Deputy Director Scott Cuthbertson said more than 10,000 people provided input.

“What they said is they want a model for smart growth,” he said. “They want a place that’s walkable, that’s vibrant. A mixed-use community where the car is not king, but rather you find sustainable, multi-modal transportation.”

A 2021 community survey found that the public is strongly in favor of things like natural open space, biking and walking trails and easily accessible public transit. Only 5% of the survey’s 615 respondents said they wanted cars to be a priority for the area.

Utah State Prison, Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at closing, Aug. 15, 2022
Sean Higgins
/
KUER
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks in front of the now-defunct Utah State Prison in Draper., Aug. 15, 2022.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox thinks The Point could eventually be one of the most visited places in Utah.

“It’s not just going to be a development,” he said. “It’s not just going to be high-rises and tech buildings here. It’s going to be a place where the public wants to come … a place that we can all be proud of, a city where people will want to live because there are amenities here because it’s walkable.”

The state chose a consortium of developers for the project, known as Innovation Point Partners, earlier this year. A representative told KUER they could not comment on project specifics at this time.

The only prison structure that won’t be demolished is the old chapel. Cox said that decision was made to honor the history of the land.

“We long wanted something from this place to serve as a reminder for those who spent parts of their lives here,” said Cox. “There was a lot of discussion over what that would be … [it was decided that] the chapel was the place that should be preserved and maintained – a place that in the darkest of times, gave hope to so many.”

Officials said preparation for demolition work will start in the coming weeks and new construction on the site is likely to begin by 2026.

Sean is KUER’s politics reporter.
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