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County narrows list of potential sites for jail

The Oklahoma County Jail. Photo by Dylan Goforth | The Frontier

Two locations near Midwest City still under consideration

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Oklahoma County Commissioners last week narrowed the list of potential sites for a new county jail to six including two that are near Midwest City.

The commissioners on Sept. 5 unanimously approved removing six properties from consideration, including a controversial site near Kelley Ave. and Britton Rd. offered to the county for free.

The vote reduced the number of potential sites from 12 to 6. Two of those sites are located near Midwest City.

One is a 45-acre property between Douglas Blvd. and Post Rd., on the south side of I-40. The property is owned by developer and former Midwest City Councilmember Jeff Moore.

The other potential site is a 53-acre parcel near S. Post Rd. and SE 74th St. It is being offered by TJK Investments LLC.
Both sites would be located in the Mid-Del School District and near Tinker Air Force Base. The base is planning to expand to the east, including closing S. Douglas Blvd. between SE 44th St. and SE 74th St.

A Tinker AFB spokesperson said base officials will continue monitoring the project.

“This is still in the early planning stages and base leaders will work closely with our Oklahoma County partners as their plans progress,” said a spokesperson.

Voters approved a $260 million bond package to build a new jail. Officials have been working to find a suitable site and requested proposals from property owners.

Several people objected to the Kelley Ave. and Britton Rd. site which is near Harding Charter Preparatory High School in northeast Oklahoma City. Bergen Real Estate LLC had offered the 77-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Kelley Ave. and Britton Rd.

The Citizens Bond Oversight Advisory Board recommended removing the Britton and Kelley property after hearing from many impassioned residents and school leaders at their Aug. 30 meeting.
Harding Superintendent Steven Stefanick asked the board to remove the site from consideration.

“While we understand the necessity of correctional facilities in Oklahoma County, and the free price tag provided is intriguing, we strongly believe this particular location at Britton Road and Kelley Avenue will do more harm than good for the future of our state and the students we serve today,” he said at the Aug. 30 meeting. “Placing a county jail near this school would introduce potential risks and disturbances that would negatively impact our students’ sense of security and their ability to focus on their education.”

Carrie Blumert, District One Commissioner, also objected to the Britton and Kelley site.

“Like many of those who spoke today (Aug. 30), I am opposed to locating the jail at the Britton and Kelley site or any other site within Northeast Oklahoma City,” Blumert said in a statement. “I am confident we can find a site that meets the needs of all stakeholders without inflicting continued harm on Northeast Oklahoma City.”

The commissioners’ vote followed the recommendation from the Citizens Bond Oversight Advisory Committee and unanimously removed six of the 12 potential sites. Some were removed due to their distance from downtown Oklahoma City and the courthouse. They included:

• 38 acres of land located at the SW corner of Portland Avenue and SW 29th Street and offered for sale by South Rail Port LLC, William Kilpatrick, Director of Real Estate.
• Between 80 and 132 acres of land located south of the intersection of Midwest Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard and offered for sale by the Ted Eckroat and Pat Eckroat Revocable Living Trust.
• 63 acres of land located at SE 29th Street west of the Kickapoo Turnpike and offered for sale by Tsalagi Development LLC, Randy Goodman, Managing Member.
• 60 acres of land located at 900 S. Council and I-40 access Road and offered for sale by Bigbee LLC, Tammy Ryan Realtor.
• 63 acres of land located near the interchange of I-35 and the John Kilpatrick Turnpike and offered for sale by the Meadows 61 LLC.

The board and HOK and REES architects will continue evaluating the six remaining sites, including the current location at 2001. N. Shartel Ave. in Oklahoma City. The current jail is a 13-story facility and county leaders are leaning towards a new jail that would be shorter and built on a larger property.

Representatives from the architecture firm were not optimistic about building a new jail on the current jail site. They argued there is not much available land near the site and construction would require the county to find a temporary facility to house inmates.

The remaining sites for consideration include:
• 71 acres of land located at 1901 E. Grand Boulevard and offered for sale by Willowbrook Investments LLC and Garrett & Company Resources LLC.
• 53 acres of land located at 6945 S. Post Road, near Post Road and SE 74th Street and offered for sale by TJK investments LLC.
• 45 acres of land located on the south side of I-40 ¼ mile east of Douglas Boulevard and offered for sale by Moore Real Estate Development LLC, Jeff Moore, Owner.
• Up to 160 acres of land located at 5201 South Meridian Avenue and offered for sale by the Oklahoma City Airport Trust.
• Up to 192 Acres of land located between south Newcastle Road and SW 54th St.
• Existing jail site located at 201 N. Shartel Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102.

County leaders are hoping to have a recommendation for a preferred site by November.

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