Debate Continues Over Proposed North Tulsa Site For Juvenile Justice Center

Monday, June 6th 2016, 6:33 pm
By: Craig Day

Supporters of a plan to build a multi-million dollar juvenile justice center in north Tulsa want Tulsa County Commissioners to re-visit the idea, but opponents are very upset and very vocal about the location.

Most everything on the Tulsa County Commissioners' agenda was routine, but not one item.

"Our community spoke loud and clear, and said ‘no,’ in fact, they said ‘Hell no,’" said former state lawmaker Judy Eason.

After months of hearing from people against the construction of a $40 million juvenile justice center in north Tulsa, County Commissioners withdrew their interest in the site near 36th Street North and MLK.

9/25/2015 Related Story: 'Not In My Back Yard' Tulsa Councilor On Proposed Site For Juvenile Justice Center

But supporters asked they reconsider; that, however, doesn't sit well with opponents like Tracie Chandler

"We have said time and time and time again, this is not what we want for our community," Chandler said.

State Representative Regina Goodwin said the nearly 60 acres is better suited for other uses.

"We want economic development there," she said.

While many opponents agree there's a need for a center, they just don't want it in north Tulsa.

10/3/2015 Related Story: Proposed Site For Tulsa Juvenile Justice Center Upsets Nearby Residents

Goodwin said, "Go to south Tulsa, go to west Tulsa, go to east Tulsa, but not north Tulsa, not this time, not now."

"If there is not broad support, we'll look at another location," Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo said.

The Tulsa county commission isn't actively trying to buy the north Tulsa property and has two other possible sites under consideration, but those locations aren't being made public while negotiations are underway.

Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said, "Thank goodness there are some other options."

While the north Tulsa site isn't officially ruled out, it's very unlikely, based on sentiment in the area, that location will be picked.

"Wherever we put it, it's an asset," Keith said.

The facility would include 55 beds, six courtrooms and other space and offices for various youth programs and services.

A decision on a site could happen within a couple of weeks.