Business Owners Upset by Detox Center Move

Wednesday, December 10th 2008, 9:16 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Some business owners near downtown Oklahoma City are upset over plans to move the city's detox center near their businesses.

For over 30 years, the detox center has called a building near N Walnut Avenue home, and now police said they've out grown the building and need something bigger. Their said the potential new location is perfect, but others in the area think it's a bad idea.

Lynda SmithSchick is having a heavy dose of déjà-vu. Her business Architectural Antiques could soon be the new neighbor to the city's detox center for the second time.

"I've always heard lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place, but we felt like that's what happened to us," SmithSchick said.

SmithShick's business used to be located near the current detox center. She said those leaving the center gave her and her customers all kinds of problems.

"Not a good mix with the retail customers. When you are trying your best to earn a living and have customers come to your store and walk through people like that who are loitering or asleep on your stairs," SmithSchick said.

Fearing the same problems, she and her husband gathered signatures from other businesses opposed to moving the detox center near their businesses.

But Oklahoma City Police said they need a bigger and better building.

"The building that they are at is really small and it's in very poor condition," Oklahoma City police Major Tom Jester said.

They said a vacant building near SmithSchick's business just so happens to be ideal.

"Whenever they have to go, it's important for them to be centrally located so we don't have officers going from one end of the city to the other," Major Jester said.

Part of the issue SmithSchick has with being next to the center is nothing is done to help the people who come there.

But Oklahoma City police said when they build the new detox center; they have plans to provide some type of counseling in hopes of getting people to stop drinking.

The issue to move the detox center on the corner of Linwood Boulevard and Virginia Avenue will go before the Planning Commission Thursday. If approved, the city council will make the final decision.