Federal Agency Delays Land Deal For New Okla. County Jail

There is still no deal on the land for the new Oklahoma County Detention Center. Negotiations are at a standstill, after a $2.5 million offer to buy land near Will Rogers World Airport.

Tuesday, November 21st 2023, 5:44 pm

By: News 9, Deanne Stein


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Still no deal on the land purchase needed to build a new Oklahoma County Detention Center. During an Oklahoma County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners found out negotiations in their offer for a city-owned lot near the airport were at a standstill.

“Right now, it's a bunch of unknown,” said Commissioner Brian Maughan. “I'm extremely worried about it.”

Commissioner Maughan had hoped for an answer to the commission’s $2.5 million offer to buy land near the Will Rogers World Airport, between Newcastle Road and Southwest 54th Street. However, the city has yet to respond either way. “It's because this is not just like you and I working out a land deal, we're having to work through a lot of governmental entities there's a lot of regulations that have to be balanced and those interests have to be flushed out,” Maughan said.

The hold-up specifically is with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to airport officials. In a statement, airport director Jeff Mulder said “The airport has not heard back from the FAA yet. They will need to weigh in and answer some questions related to grant assurances before a final decision can be made.” “We've put a lot of effort into this so I’m hopeful that this works out but I’m also a realist and realize if we don't have the time and the luxury to continue to wait we may have to go explore other options,” Maughan said.

Those options would include an aggressive search for a new location. “We're trying to make it as least impactful as possible and so there's a number of considerations not just schools, you know, you have neighborhoods, but we also have other business interests and seeing if we can find somewhere it kind of fits,” he said. “We're starting from scratch basically because we've already flushed out all these other sites and come to this site for a reason.”

The airport land offers 192 acres, plenty of room for a single-story jail, and an adjacent mental healthcare facility, which is tied to an additional $50 million in ARPA funds. However, commissioners have a deadline to meet or risk losing federal money. “I didn't ever think it would be quite this challenging to do, I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but this has proved to be way more difficult than I anticipated,” said Maughan.

To keep the federal funds, the commission must purchase property by 2026.

Related Articles:

Time Is Ticking On The Okla. County Commission To Secure New Jail Site

Oklahoma Co. Commissioners Make Offer On Land For New Jail Site

County Commissioners Vote On A New Jail Location Near Will Rogers World Airport

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