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Commissioners pick spot for new jail

Oklahoma County Citizens Bond Oversight Advisory Board hears from residents about proposed locations for a new county jail during a meeting on Sept. 26. Photo by Jeff Harrison

County selects 192-acre property near Will Rogers World Airport

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

The Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners Monday selected a site for the new county jail.

The commissioners selected a 192-acre property near S. Newcastle Rd. and SW 54th St. as the site for a new county jail. The vacant property is located northwest of Will Rogers World Airport.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to enter into discussions with the City of Oklahoma City and the Airport Trust Authority for the property.

“It’s an exciting day in Oklahoma County,” said Brian Maughan, District 2 Commissioner.

A list of potential sites for the jail has been trimmed over the past few weeks. A citizens oversight board helping to select a future location for the jail removed two locations for consideration Sept. 26 after hearing from several residents who objected to locations near the Mid-Del area and Tinker Air Force Base.

After a nearly hour-long executive session, five members of the Oklahoma County Citizens Bond Oversight Advisory Board recommended the county commissioners remove a 53-acre site near S. Post Rd. and SE 74th St. and a 45-acre site near I-40 and Douglas Blvd.

Several people objected to the Douglas Blvd. and Post Rd. sites due to its proximity to Tinker Air Force Base, local schools and a new sports complex near SE 29th St. and Douglas Blvd.
Oklahoma County Citizens Bond Oversight Advisory Board chairman Steve Mason said the two proposed locations were removed because one of them is in a flood plain and the other is located in Tinker AFB fly zone and has utility issues.

Mason said feedback from residents helped persuade them to make their decision.

“I didn’t know about the fly zones around Tinker until people told us,” Mason said. “I didn’t understand the impact of the fly zones and that helped me to hear that. We all recognize that Tinker is the largest employer in central Oklahoma and it’s real important that we protect Tinker.”

Several people also objected to a 71-acre property located at 1901 E. Grand Blvd., which is just west of Del City.

The Grand Blvd. site remained under consideration along with two Oklahoma City-owned properties near the airport as well as the current jail site in downtown Oklahoma City.

Rick Cobb, superintendent of Mid-Del Schools, expressed concern about the Grand Blvd. location as well as the two that were removed. He said the site is not far from Del City Elementary School and within a mile of Crooked Oak Schools.

“Kids are going to be walking home from school or from the bus stop near the proposed jail site,” Cobb said about the Grand Blvd. location.

Cobb also opposed the Douglas Blvd. and Post Rd. sites.

“I know you have a hard job, and nobody wants a jail in their backyard, but my concern is the safety of our schools,” Cobb said.
Others raised concerns about the nearby trails and parks as well as developments on the Oklahoma River.

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