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County Commissioners select Grand Boulevard site for new jail

Mid-Del School Board member Gina Standridge speaks during Wednesday’s Oklahoma County Commissioners meeting. Photo provided

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Oklahoma County Commissioners on Wednesday selected 1901 E. Grand Blvd. as their preferred location for a new jail.

The 2-1 vote came after hours of public comments and an executive session.

Several Del City residents, elected officials and Mid-Del representatives spoke against the Grand Blvd. site, with many urging the county to keep the jail in downtown Oklahoma City.

District 3 Commissioner Myles Davidson and District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan voted for the site that is located just west of Del City, while District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert opposed it.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners voted to remove a proposed site at NE 23rd St. and Coltrane Rd. The northeast Oklahoma City location also drew strong opposition including from a group of people who walked from the site to the county courthouse Wednesday morning.

Blumert requested that the NE 23rd St. and Coltrane site be removed from consideration. The board voted 3-0 to remove the site which was greeted with cheers from the audience.

The board also eliminated a site at NE 63rd and Post, but Blumert’s request to remove 1901 E. Grand Blvd. failed to receive a second from Maughan or Davidson.

After an executive session, the commissioners selected 1901 E. Grand Blvd. as the preferred location.

“I’ll make a motion that we select the 71 acres at 1901 East Grand as the potential new site for the detention center,” Davidson said.

Maughan seconded the motion, but acknowledged there could be some roadblocks.

“As a matter of explanation for my second, I think that there are a lot of challenges with this, and we may or may not see that this succeeds at city hall, so I have supported that the alternatives have been explored as we are simultaneously going through this process because we are lacking in time,” Maughan said.

He said it’s been an “exhaustive process.”

“We’ve heard from lots of the public from all over different sites that have each produced a significant number of protests,” Maughan said. “We have had things disqualified because either the property owner wasn’t willing to sell, because the engineering didn’t look favorable or there ultimately weren’t enough property owners willing to join in to do it. Given that this is among the last standing that scores the highest, I second the motion.”

Other potential alternative sites include Reno Ave. and Exchange Ave., I-240 and Sunnylane Rd., and 62 acres of land between 1901 E. Grand Blvd. and the Oklahoma River that was the former site of the Townley’s Dairy.

Del City has threatened legal action if the Grand Blvd. site is selected. Councilman Michael Dean told NonDoc that the city plans to follow through with it.

“I can’t believe that after all of these citizens from Oklahoma County came out and stated they wanted it downtown they couldn’t listen to their constituents,” Dean told NonDoc. “It’s not like there is a silent majority saying keep it downtown. The objections to both the Del City site, and the east-side site, have been vocal. They know how people feel about it. The idea that they are representing the people of Oklahoma County is just nonsense.”

Blumert expressed disappointment in the vote.

“I have been clear from the beginning that we need a new jail that is humane, both for the detainees and those who work in the facility. The new facility must also include social services and diversion programs for detainees to have access to services while awaiting trial. No matter where the jail goes, I will fight for those standards,” she said. “Now that the decision has been made, I will do my best to work with Crooked Oak Schools and the City of Del City to address their concerns as the jail is designed, constructed, and finally becomes operational.”

 

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