Community

Jail location near Luther is not likely, according to the County Commissioner

Bison Blinds

“I can explain this; it won’t go there,” District 3 County Commissioner Myles Davidson told The Luther Register after a plot of land near 150th and Peebly Road in unincorporated Oklahoma County, outside of the Town of Luther’s limits, was put back into play by the Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners on Wednesday.

“Imagine a 2300-bed hotel that operates 24/7 in the middle of a field that has zero infrastructure. No water or sewer service, electricity? We can not afford to put the jail out in the middle of nowhere like that,” he told The Luther Register.

The land was offered earlier this year in the first round of bids, and was ruled out in favor of more favorable options with existing infrastructure and closer proximity to the Oklahoma County Courthouse. But those options have met with opposition from residents, city leaders, school board members, businesses, the politically savvy, and even “economic developers.” Still, other properties have been thrown into the mix by the city of Oklahoma City, and are also being considered.

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Davidson said it’s inconceivable for the location to be so far flung from the county seat. Instead, he’s advocating for a location near the Oklahoma City stockyards where there is infrastructure and is in another unincorporated area.

Transportation costs, namely fuel expenses, is another factor Davidson says makes the northeast Oklahoma County location unfavorable. He pointed out that costs to transport jail inmates to the courthouse currently are $770,000 annually to travel four blocks. Those costs and the inefficiency would skyrocket if they had to travel over 20 miles to the courthouse if the facility was in the Luther area (not to mention the turnpike fees!).

Still, the location is back in play. Is it politics? Is it a factor that each proposed site of the jail was knocked off the list for various reasons, including neighborhood and business opposition including from the FAA for the location near the airport, reported by The Oklahoman? Those fiercely and dramatically opposed to the location of the jail near them all have their “good” reasons. Most of the locations have those same good reasons. While the Luther location is as farfetched as it is far flung, due to the infrastructure challenges, the location is back in play.

What can you do? Get informed. Make your voice heard TO the decision makers (they might not all be on Facebook!) Watch meeting agendas. Here’s the link for the BOCC agenda center. Here is the link to District 3 County Commissioner Myles Davidson’s office.

Looks like we will be watching more closely as the county continues its battle for the location to build a new facility that voters agreed to fund last year.


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