Del City Oklahoma County Jail, 1901 E. Grand Blvd.
A property at 1901 E. Grand Blvd. in southeast Oklahoma City — across the street from the western border of Del City — has been selected as the location for Oklahoma County's new jail. (Screenshot)

After hours of public comments and a protracted executive session led to a five-hour meeting today, the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners selected a site at 1901 E. Grand Boulevard as the location for the new county jail, although a long road remains before ground will be broken.

District 3 Commissioner Myles Davidson and District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan voted for the 1901 E. Grand site, while District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert voted against it and said in a news release that she is “disappointed” by the decision.

A march by those who opposed a location on the east side of Oklahoma City kicked off the day. About two dozen people walked several miles from a potential site at NE 23 and Coltrane to the county’s office building in downtown OKC to protest that potential site, which eventually was removed from consideration to applause from many in attendance.

But by the time commissioners emerged from several hours of executive session to vote on the 1901 E. Grand Blvd. location, few people people remained in a room that had been overflowing earlier in the day.

“I’ll make a motion that we select the 71 acres at 1901 East Grand as the potential new site for the detention center,” Davidson told fellow commissioners.

Maughan seconded the motion, although he acknowledged the site may have a difficult path ahead thanks to potential legal challenges from the City of Del City. The county will continue to evaluate several sites because of that threat.

“As a matter of explanation for my second, I think that there are a lot of challenges with this, and we may or may not see that this succeeds at city hall, so I have supported that the alternatives have been explored as we are simultaneously going through this process because we are lacking in time,” Maughan told commissioners.

Potential alternate sites include:

  • Up to 40 acres at Reno Avenue and Exchange Avenue;
  • Up to 50 acres near I-240 and Sunnylane Road;
  • Up to 160 acres near Southwest 74th Street and Rockwell Avenue.

Frustrated by site selection, Del City expected to file lawsuit

Oklahoma County Del City
The property located at 1901 E. Grand Boulevard in southeast Oklahoma City is being considered as a location for the new Oklahoma County Jail. (Screenshot)

The selected site on Grand Boulevard sits just across Bryant Avenue from Del City’s western boundary, and several housing developments and schools are nearby. Both the superintendents for Crooked Oak Schools and Mid-Del Schools had publicly advocated against the potential site.

Earlier this month, Del City council members set aside $150,000 to sue the county if the 1901 E. Grand site were selected. Following Wednesday’s vote, Del City Ward 1 Councilman Michael Dean said he was surprised by commissioners’ decision.

“I can’t believe that after all of these citizens from Oklahoma County came out and stated they wanted it downtown they couldn’t listen to their constituents,” Dean said. “It’s not like there is a silent majority saying keep it downtown. The objections to both the Del City site, and the east-side site, have been vocal. They know how people feel about it. The idea that they are representing the people of Oklahoma County is just nonsense.”


Oklahoma County Del City

Tensions rise between Del City and Oklahoma County on jail site selection by Matt Patterson

Dean said he expects the City of Del City to begin its search for an attorney for a lawsuit that seems all but assured at this point. Dean said Del City’s fight is just getting started.

“We wanted to make sure that (the threat of a lawsuit) was clear to the county before they voted,” Dean said. “This isn’t something that is going to go fast. They won’t be able to build it on their timeline.”

Barring legal delays, the new jail is expected to open by 2027 as a replacement to the long-troubled existing facility in downtown Oklahoma City. Opponents of sides in northeast Oklahoma City and the 1901 E. Grand Blvd. location have expressed concern that most county and public services are located in downtown OKC, far away from where the new jail could be built.

According to federal rules, $40 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding intended for use in building the new jail would need to be encumbered by the end of 2024 and be spent a year later. If the county does not comply with those rules, it could be forced to return the funds.

Watch commissioners vote on the 1901 E. Grand Blvd. site