Alternate Jail Sites Discussed By Oklahoma County Commissioners

Commissioners made an offer on 192 acres of land near the Will Rogers World Airport but are still waiting for the FAA to approve the sale. While they wait, they are considering other options in case that one falls through.

Monday, December 4th 2023, 5:03 pm



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Oklahoma County Commissioners met behind closed doors Monday morning to discuss possible new jail sites. The list included the original four locations they were considering, along with other properties near the city’s stockyards.

Commissioners made an offer on 192 acres of land near the Will Rogers World Airport but are still waiting for the FAA to approve the sale. Until that happens, they are going back to the drawing board to find a backup and several people had something to say about that during Monday’s meeting.

“If you don't want it in your backyard, then we absolutely do not want it in ours,” said Kevin Maxwell a resident from northeast Oklahoma City. 

Before Oklahoma County Commissioners went into executive session to discuss possible jail sites, Maxwell and several other people from the community stood up in opposition to the location at Northeast 10th Street and Interstate 35.

“It's a reminder of what can happen when you make a bad decision,” Maxwell said. “We need something positive, why not consider putting something positive there that would uplift the community and not devastate it."

The location was one of four properties commissioners identified as potential sites. Since the airport land deal is taking so long to close, commissioners are looking into properties old and new.

“We don't want a jail near our schools, we don't want a jail near our residential communities, so it’s a major concern,” said Representative Jason Lowe (D-OKC).

However, County Commissioner Miles Davidson said while on the agenda, the Northeast 10th Street and I-35 location was not a topic in executive session.

“It's a good spot, but let me tell you about the cost of that spot. It's a former water treatment plant, so the amount of mediation just in soil alone would be extensive,” Commissioner Davidson said. “Financially, it just doesn't make sense.”

Instead, commissioners say they are looking at other potential sites, including unincorporated land near the stockyards.

“We are not closing down a billion-dollar operation in Oklahoma City,” Davidson said. “There are more areas than just the stockyards itself that are actually unincorporated, so it's the entire area. There are sections of it that have been long in disrepair that I think we might be able to look at and work with some people to maybe purchase.”

Davidson said along with the sites on the agenda, they have received a list of other potential properties.

“We're going to advance the ball on a site that we discussed pretty extensively,” he said.

However, he wouldn’t reveal the location of that site. Even so, commissioners say they haven’t given up on the current offer near the airport.

“We're going to remain hopeful until they tell us no,” said Davidson.

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