Thunder Arena, Jail Site, Hotel Tax: OKC City Council Votes Tuesday

Three topics were voted on Tuesday in the Oklahoma City City Council. The council approved making the former Cox Convention Center into the new Thunder Arena, denied Oklahoma County’s new jail site, and are sending a raised hotel tax to the ballot.

Tuesday, May 21st 2024, 5:34 pm



-

Three topics were voted on Tuesday in the Oklahoma City City Council. The council approved making the former Cox Convention Center into the new Thunder Arena, denied Oklahoma County’s new jail site, and are sending a raised hotel tax to the ballot.

Thunder Arena Approved

City councilors approved a new agreement with the owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The agreement includes building a new arena.

The new arena will be built where the former Cox Convention Center is. The convention center will be torn down and rebuilt as a state-of-the-art arena.

The agreement passed with a 7-2 vote, with some councilors voicing concerns..

Some were concerned for the current occupants of the building, Prairie Surf. However, the Chamber of Commerce says it’s been working with Prairie Surf to find a new location.

The arena is projected to cost $900 million. MAPS 4 will pay for $78 million of it, and $50 million will be paid by the Thunder ownership group. The rest will be covered by an extension of the MAPS penny sales tax, which was approved by voters in December.

The arena will be at least 750,000 square feet, have a new parking garage and funding for an intercity transit hub.

Now that the project has been approved, the city will begin searching for a company to complete the project. 

The agreement outlines a path for a target completion date of June 2028, but it must open by June 2030.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will play games at the Paycom Center until the new arena is open. The new 25 year agreement with the team won't go into effect until the team starts playing in the new arena.

Jail Site Denied

Oklahoma County Commissioners hit a major roadblock in building a new county jail. OKC City Council voted 7 to 1 to deny a special permit for the property near Del City, where commissioners want to build the new detention facility. Cheers from the crowd following the vote at Tuesday’s meeting reflect the end of a long fight.

“I'm wiped out right now,” said Del City Mayor Floyd Eason.

Del City Mayor Floyd Eason has been at the helm of the crusade to keep the jail away from his city, saying it’s too close to homes and schools.

“Hopefully the county commissioners will back off of this site,” he said.

For now, it appears they must after the city council denied a special permit for the owner of 1901 East Grand Boulevard, the proposed site for the new county jail.

“It's extremely frustrating that we've done all this legwork twice now and they still don't have approval for us,” said Oklahoma County District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan.

However, Maughan says this site and others may not be off the table just yet.

“There is a legal theory that maybe we are sovereign, and we don't have the jurisdictional approval from the city council, that the county is its own jurisdictional approving authority,” Maughan said. I think clearly the city council indicated they really aren't going to approve it anywhere.”

However, Eason says if the county continues to pursue the East Grand Boulevard location, the city will take legal action.

“We fought a good fight, it may not be over but we're not going to give up we're not going to quit until the commissioners quit and move out of our area,” Eason said.

In a statement, Oklahoma County District 3 Commissioner Myles Davidson released this statement in response to the OKC city council vote on Tuesday: “This decision overlooks the critical need for modern, humane detention facilities that can better serve our community. Our current facilities pose significant risks and challenges. I am disappointed in the city council’s inability to recognize the need for a new jail to ensure the safety and well-being of both inmates and staff.”

Hotel Tax Heads To Ballot

Residents will now be able to vote on an ordinance to nearly double the city's hotel tax.

If approved, people who stay overnight in a hotel or home-share property will pay a 9.25 percent tax.

City leaders say the extra funds will go towards promoting tourism and fixing city attractions.

The tax increase will be on the August 27th ballot.

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

May 21st, 2024

June 15th, 2024

June 15th, 2024

June 14th, 2024

Top Headlines

June 16th, 2024

June 16th, 2024

June 16th, 2024

June 16th, 2024