ROOSEVELT -- On the same day that Roosevelt Mayor Dennis Jenkins was to tell Cornell Corporations Inc. the City Council would not support Cornell's proposal to bid on a prison location in Roosevelt, the company beat the city to the punch.

Jenkins said Cornell Senior Vice President Marvin Wiebe called Jan. 27 to say the company's officials had "withdrawn their interest in the community.""They thanked us for our hospitality and interest," said Jenkins. The mayor said he didn't tell Wiebe about the City Council's earlier decision not to back Cornell's proposal.

In a telephone interview Wiebe said Cornell backed off the Roosevelt site for a 500-bed medium security prison because of opposition expressed during a Jan. 21 public meeting in Roosevelt. He said the company was also having some difficulty getting past environmental issues in a cost-effective way at its proposed site north of the Pennzoil refinery.

"We have a limited amount of time, and we really have to get moving on this," he said, noting the company is working with other communities.

The state is soliciting bids for a privately run correctional facility. It will be the first such adult prison in Utah. Four private corrections management and construction companies, including one that has chosen Duchesne as a construction site, are expected to submit bids by the March 16 deadline.

Council member Steve Yack said he felt public sentiment at the Jan. 21 meeting ran about 90 percent against allowing a prison to be built in Roosevelt. It was that opposition that helped him shape his opinion, he said.

Council member Sterling Rees decided against supporting a prison in Roosevelt "as a result of a combination of everything." Prime among his considerations was the negative connotation the perception of being a prison community would have on the future development of the city.

"I got a lot of calls from people, and it ran about five or six opposed to every one person in favor," said Rees.

"It was a tough decision," Councilman Mike Guinn said. "Even though this area is in dire need of industry, in my opinion the prison isn't want we wanted to see in the future."

"It was really something I very carefully investigated and was just convinced that the facility wouldn't be in the best interest of the community," Councilwoman Beverly Hansen said.

Roosevelt council members have said they will support a proposal by Wackenhut Corrections to operate a prison at a site north of Duchesne near the Duchesne County Justice Complex and jail.

Duchesne County commissioners have already gone on record in support of the Wackenhut bid.