The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority is in the process of planning “The Point,” a 600-acre project at the Draper site of the current state prison. This effort would not be possible if the state had not relocated the prison to Westpointe in the northwest corner of Salt Lake City.
Ironically, the “sunken costs” (both figuratively and literally) for the expensive infrastructure at this location ignited the momentum for a Utah Inland Port — a 22,000-acre project in the same area. In fact, the initial bill creating the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) was modeled after the Point of the Mountain Authority with the same legislator sponsoring both pieces of legislation.
The UIPA bill was rushed through during the final hours of the legislative session with critical last-minute changes. One of the most significant changes, barely noted at the time, was eliminating the language directing UIPA to “promote a high quality of life for residents of the area, region and the state.” It is a profound change that underlines the difference in values, intent and process between the two projects.
For all the positive efforts The Point is striving to achieve, these are being undermined 20 miles away. That is not progress. We seem to be patting ourselves on the back with one hand, while digging our graves with the other.
Draper was an agricultural community farmed by pioneer stock similar to the pioneer families that ranched in northwest Salt Lake. Both share a link to the land and a responsibility for keeping their legacy. The Point of the Mountain Authority responded to this legacy by involving the community and its elected officials in creating operating philosophies, detailed plans and sustainable metrics to guide the project’s implementation.
It even utilized Brigham Young’s planning model in the process. As a result, the community is informed, engaged and supportive. The development aims to be “known globally and loved locally.”
Contrast that environment with the continuous vocal opposition and repeated public demonstrations opposing the UIPA.
No one in the valley is immune to the invasion of polluting crickets destroying the quality of our air and water. Nevertheless, seagulls are arriving at The Point in Draper while Salt Lake City’s westside is getting more locusts. Even before this latest invasion the west side of Salt Lake City was polluted by oil refineries, four interstates, an international airport and toxic tailings.
I urge you to check out the Point of the Mountain Authority board’s six guiding principles in developing The Point (https://thepointutah.org/about/the-board/). Ask yourself what each one looks like when put into practice. Then assess for yourself how the two development efforts compare. I think UIPA misses the point.
Dorothy Pappas Owen is chair of the Westpointe Community Council.